CHENNAI / Over 350 km in 5 hours: TN boy rushed for emergency surgery

The Hindu : Sep 04, 2019, 11:09 AM

About 300 members of three WhatsApp groups joined hands to create a ‘green corridor’, from Ramanathapuram to Puducherry, with the help of traffic police, and transport a 16-year-old boy for an emergency surgery at JIPMER in the Union Territory late on Monday.

When doctors at a private hospital here suggested that the boy, battling cancer of the spinal cord, be taken to JIPMER for an emergency surgery, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) district secretary N. Jifri roped in the party’s medical wing and offered to shift the boy in an ambulance. Soon, members of WhatsApp groups — TMMK Ambulance Service, NH-45 Taxi Operators and Karaikal Poraligal — sent the word out, making it possible to shift the boy to JIPMER in about five hours, covering a distance of 366 km.

While the TMMK functionaries alerted the traffic police personnel in Pudukottai, Nagapattinam and Cuddalore districts, the ambulance drivers and taxi operators alerted their counterparts and ensured that the route was free for the ambulance.

The ambulance set off at 5.35 p.m. and reached JIPMER at 10.40 p.m., with stops for a change of ambulance at Thondi and refuelling. “Not even a single vehicle came on the way,” said Jass, the ambulance driver.

In both Karaikal and Chidambaram, traffic was heavy but the police and WhatsApp group members helped the ambulance pass through with ease, he said. People also cooperated and waited patiently at intersections till the ambulance passed through, he added.

Since admission, the boy has been under treatment at the Emergency Medical Services Wing of JIPMER, an official said.