NEW DELHI, March 6 - Despite his hectic electioneering schedule, Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to the rescue of an eight-day-old girl child on Saturday, when he ensured a green corridor from the Delhi airport to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here.
With the Prime Minister busy in Varanasi, his office here swung into action and ensured that the infant, who was flown in from Dibrugarh in a critical condition in an air ambulance, had a traffic-free passage when an ambulance drove down from Delhi�s IGI Airport to the hospital.
The girl child was initially diagnosed with a medical condition in which the first stool of the baby enters its lungs. If inhaled, these contaminated fluids can cause fatal respiratory disorders. To save her life, doctors at Aditya Hospital, Dibrugarh, arranged an air-ambulance to fly her to Delhi�s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
The Prime Minister�s intervention helped ensure a smooth passage for the ambulance to reach Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said the child�s father Dhrubajyoti Kalita, who is a chemical engineer at the Dibrugarh-based Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited (BCPL).
�Modi is our God. We had sought help from several influential people, including a top IPS officer from the Northeast working with Delhi Police. Nobody did anything. We did not know what would happen to our daughter,� added Kalita, describing their plight.
A doctor at Aditya Hospital, who was involved in the child�s treatment, sent an email to Delhi-based scribe Kaushik Deka working for India Today requesting a free passage from the airport to the hospital without any traffic. Deka then emailed the Delhi Police Special Commissioner for Traffic Ajay Kashyap and Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik and marked a copy to the Prime Minister�s personal email ID. The PM saw the email and alerted his office, which then requested immediate action from Delhi Police.
Meanwhile, Dr Bhaskar Papukon Gogoi, one of the doctors who knew of the developments, in a statement said that on March 3, at 11 pm he got an emergency call from a doctor stating that an infant was in ventilator and has to be airlifted to Delhi�s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. The flight will take six hours and the ventilator got only seven hours of power backup. Everything was in order except that the Saturday Delhi traffic on wedding season is a nightmare of highest order. Precious moments were at stake.
�My senior asked me to pull some strings in Delhi to bring the national capital�s traffic to a halt,� he said. So on March 4, calls to each and everyone who is powerful enough in Delhi began.
Meanwhile, the baby girl left Aditya Hospital to Dibrugarh Airport. At 1 pm, they boarded the air ambulance with uncertainty looming.
�At 2 pm, I called up Kaushik Deka of India Today for guidance and intervention. He called up his contacts but the result was negative. There is just no way,� he said.
�Finally we decided to do the impossible. Knock at the highest door... Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But Modi and his team were busy in road shows in Varanasi and the chance of reaching him in such a short time is poor... But we had the personal email of the PM � the mail id that he checks personally on his phone... We shot an email, hoping against hope that he replies in positive. There was no reply.�
At 6 pm the plane landed in Lucknow for refuelling and there was no sign of anything positive. �Then came the phone calls. This time to Deka and me. Calls from Commissioner of Police, Traffic Commissioner of Delhi asking details of the air ambulance and location of evacuation,� he said.
�Modi did not reply. He responded and in an unprecedented manner. At 7.10 pm, the flight landed and an ambulance was ready. There is now 20 minutes left on the ventilator and the notorious Delhi traffic was at its peak. The ACP of Delhi Traffic assured me that the baby will reach hospital in time.
�The impossible was happening. All traffic from airport to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital came to a halt. It was a green corridor passage, something that is reserved for emergencies of VVIPs. Delhi was made to wait to let an Assamese infant reach her treatment,� he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal tweeted that �PM turns saviour for ailing 8-day-old child, parents owe her life to Modi.�
Dibrugarh Bureau adds: Last Friday, as BCPL chemical engineer Dhrubajyoti Kalita and his schoolteacher wife Himakshi rushed to Aditya Hospital, even as their one-week-old daughter was gasping for breath, little did they know that their misery would be a national story 72 hours later. The infant was, according to doctors, suffering from �meconium aspiration syndrome�, triggered by fluids in the lungs.
Dhrubajyoti is an alumnus of Salt Brook School, Dibrugarh. He is now a chemical engineer at the Assam gas cracker project, also known as BCPL. They are residents of Milanpur locality in Moran, 35 km from Dibrugarh. This evening, locals in Moran have offered special prayers in various naamghars, seeking early recovery of the infant.
While the infant was struggling to breathe, doctors in Dibrugarh knew that she has to be given super specialty care to better her chances. The only available option was to fly her out, in an air ambulance. Though expensive, the young parents decided to go for it and pulled out all the stops, said Dr Bhaskar P Gogoi.
The episode also exposes the severe lack of medical facilities in Dibrugarh as well as in the State. Despite the Assam Medical College being located in Dibrugarh, its severe shortcomings in healthcare delivery has been exposed once again.