Story of a 67-year-old doctor who has not charged his patients since 1973
Chennai saw the worst floods in 100 years, in the months of November and December 2015. With the natural calamity causing catastrophic damage to livelihood, Dr Thiruvengadam Veeraraghavan was one of the victims who lost almost everything he had. Born and brought up in Vyasarpadi, Chennai, Veeraraghavan runs a clinic of his own since 1973. Every day, from 8pm to 10 pm, he attends to patients in Erukancherry area, and from 10pm to beyond midnight in Vyasarpadi area in the city.
Even in his initial days as a medical student at Stanley Medical College, he had been treating patients for a fee of only Rs 2. Later when his own patients forced him to increase his fee, he had no choice except to make it Rs 5. But the growing pressure from the rest of the doctor fraternity in the area to up his fee to a minimum of Rs 100, made Veeraraghavan respond by a resolution to not to collect any fee at all from his patients. Instead he suggested that his patients should pay him back according to their convenience, even with food and any kind of eatables. However, he chooses not to accept anything at most times.
Born in 1950 in a joint family, Veeraraghavan gathered plenty of traits from his uncles who were volunteers at St. John's Ambulance Service. The 67-year-old veteran works in a private hospital in Velachery area in the day, and after that, he goes to his clinics in Sri Kalyanapuram and Erukkancherry, where he attends to poor patients.
According to a Times of India report, his wife Saraswathi worked as a railway officer and retired from service a few years ago. His son T Deepak and daughter T Preethi studied medicine in a college in Mauritius. Veeraraghavan now hopes to get all his family members to work with him and fulfill his dream to build the hospital in Vysarpadi and serve its residents.