Doctors all over the world need to be hardened for that is what their job requires from them. They encounter patients complaining from severe pain to crying over fatal diseases.
To Dr Anum Rahman, doctors’ attention and medicines can heal the wounds but poverty can be hindrance to their recovery route. Being a familiar to patients’ financial miseries, she has launched a ‘help-the-patients’ campaign with her own sources and friends’ help.
The 26-year-old doctor is a graduate of the Peshawar Medical College and currently works with a private hospital in Peshawar.
What inspired her to work for the poor patients?
Dr Anum says the journey started last year in the summer when one day, while at work, she noticed a patient of Hepatitis C was reluctant to go for monthly interfernos. When she dug into the issue, she says, she found the patient was also suffering from chronic poverty. She decided to help the patient (she does not want to reveal gender and information of the person). She invited her friends and colleagues to share the pain. The response was riveting. Money started pouring in. She, with her friends, set up a stall at a local college funfair event and collected Rs 51,000. Many people offered to sponsor the patient.
Since then, she with her friends has helped more than 200 patients visiting the Peshawar hospitals.
She says the element of philanthropy, generosity and empathy is in abundance, and the only thing which they need is transparency, clarity and trust. Following these principle, she says, she has gained the trust of group of over 50 people, who on her call help the needy patients.
She says as the government does not and cannot help all poor patients, those who can afford ought to help the poor because money is not everything. “The greatest from of wealth is human connection and human interaction,” she says. “It’s one of most influential currencies in the world. We never know if the next great is waiting on streets is a homeless sick. If we don’t help these people, we may never see the great value that some could bring to making our world a better place.”
Whenever she comes across a patient in need of money for their treatment, Dr Anum gets an estimate of the treatment, and shares it with friends on social media.
“Every religion in the world asks its believers to help those in need,” she says. “People can help us if they know any deserving patient who’s disease is treatable for whom we can provide a plan to get treated. They can help us raising funds from their respective communities and can take such steps so that others may get inspired. 40 percent of all deaths are preventable and Pakistan ranks the 111th, out of 169 countries, on maternal and 184th on prenatal mortality, and 10 percent of the world’s child deaths under five years are in Pakistan.”
The data is horrible. So is the cost of medical treatment.
She, however, refutes the claim. “Not all treatments are expensive but most of them are, and it depends on person to person, from what socio-economic status they belong to. For some, millions do not matter, and for many a rupee matters a lot.”
Though she has helped so many patients, Dr Anum says that she has regret which makes her sleepless.
“Due to this I incident, I eventually started hating life. A young man, around 28 years old, with road accident injuries was admitted to the ICU. He was on ventilator as he was not breathing properly. With the passage of time, the attendant asked the hospital to wean off the ventilator as they were no more able to pay daily vent charges and that patient died on the way back to home,” she sighs.
“Ohmygod, how I come I couldn’t save that life?”