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A story of true grit from Colachel

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Last updated on: January 22, 2005 23:34 IST

For those who don't believe in miracles, there is evidence in flesh and blood. Visit the James Hospital in Colachel, Kanyakumari, and meet Dr James Premkumar who, assisted by 15 doctors, 45 nurses and 60 students of the in-house nursing school, is helping hundreds of tsunami victims back on their feet.

It is a story of true grit. Soon after waves flooded the region on December 26, the hospital sent its ambulances out through the night to bring back the victims.

Soon the four-storied hospital was full to the brim and patients had to be accommodated on the floor for want of space. On the first day, the hospital treated 784 patients and a fortnight after, the number stood at 4,600.

Every patient has been treated free.

Knowing that 'fresh water takes 24 hours to kill, while seawater kills in just 12 minutes', the hospital staff focused on getting the saline water out of the victims' systems.

Dr Premkumar and his team slogged round the clock, administering life-saving injections, providing respiratory support where needed, and standing like a pillar of strength amid the trauma swirling around them.

There have been stories that, elsewhere, would be classified under the category of miracles.

A nurse saved the life of a six-month-old who was presumed dead.

She kept the girl child in the ICU for four days, after which she started showing signs of life. Six babies were thus given a fresh lease of life, out of which five have been claimed by their parents.

No wonder the patients see the doctor as God incarnate. The doctor's very presence seems to fill the patients with strength, and across the hospital there are many who need an infusion of this commodity.

A man who was in ICU, begs the doctor to remove his tubes so he can go to the toilet on his own. A woman who was released from the ICU of another hospital, cries in relief after having found her lost son recuperating here; she has found a reason to live.

No wonder, Dr Premkumar does not charge his patient anything. After all, what is money in comparison to a smile on the lips of the ailing?

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