For 38 years, Vasu has been supporting and caring for people admitted in hospitals who do not have anyone else there.

Kerala man who accompanies lone patients to hospitals continues despite COVID-19
news Human Interest Saturday, March 14, 2020 - 18:08

Kozhikode resident Vaichira Vasu returned home from Manipal Institute of Medial Sciences just two days ago, but he is already packing his bags again. He isn’t travelling – not in the conventional sight-seeing sense at least. He is packing to go provide support and care to yet another person in another hospital on Tuesday.

For 38 years now, Vasu has been selflessly going to hospitals, and providing care and support to patients who are admitted in hospitals all alone. Even now, fears over the coronavirus pandemic have not stopped him from doing so.

“I take precautions like wearing masks and practicing hand hygiene. Other than that, I am not taking a step back from my services. Next week, I am accompanying a patient to Manipal, where I have read that few are in isolation due to coronavirus. But that is okay, somebody needs to help people even at this time. I am not troubled, and am happy to continue my work even in difficult times,” Vasu tells TNM.

For Vasu, who is a resident of Naripatta in Kozhikode, this is neither his job nor does he accept any remuneration for it. “I have lived my whole life as a communist,” he says. “I will accompany to the hospital people that I know, those who I don’t, whether they are rich or poor and irrespective of their caste or religion. They are all equal to me.”

All it takes for someone is to call up Vasu and ask him to come with them to the hospital, and he will do so with no hesitation, he says. The longest he has stayed in a hospital with someone is 40 days.

Vasu accepts no rewards for his service, except food and travel expenses to the hospital. “Some people used to drop off gifts at my home when I wasn’t here. But I used to call them and ask not to do that again,” he says.

The inspiration behind these acts of compassion and kindness is rooted in Vasu’s own experience. In the 1980s, Vasu was stabbed by a friend who happened to have a mental illness. He was rushed to hospital by his other friends, who stayed with him day and night till he recovered.

"They stood by me, donating blood, collecting money to pay hospital bills, without even changing their clothes. Until I was well they were with me. It was because of them I am alive today," Vasu recalls. Since then, Vasu decided to pay it forward and be the pillar of support for others in hospitals who had no one else to rely on.

Initially, Vasu was regular at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. Later, he started accompanying people who had to go to faraway hospitals as well, such as in Manipal, Mangaluru, Bengaluru, Chennai, Vellore, among others.

"I just pack some of my necessary belongings, and stay with them for days or weeks. I help them in the hospital to deal with the paperwork, to go to washrooms, getting food… I accompany them for medical tests, help them after surgeries, and above all I hope to make them feel that they are not alone and that they have someone dear near them," he said.

In the beginning, Vasu's family used to complain that these activities made him unavailable for them. However, later they also realized Vasu’s passion for it, and now he has the full support of his wife and children.

While Vasu used to work as a contractor who made furniture, he says that he has more time for going to hospitals now that he has left his job. His family is now supported by his two grown up sons.

Ask him the number of patients he has accompanied to hospitals and Vasu doesn’t have a definite number. “Around 600-700,” he smiles. 

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