Medical sergeant rides 150 km to deliver medicines to 4-year-old cancer patient

A medical sergeant from the Indian state of Kerala rode more than 150 km on his bike to deliver medicines to a 4-year-old cancer patient whose family ran out of them in late March during the ongoing lockdown.

The girl lives in Kerala’s Alappuzha district and makes a monthly trip to the Regional Cancer Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital, for chemotherapy.

But she was recently advised to temporarily take medication when the chemo unit was shut down to pre-empt coronavirus infections.

The medicines aren’t available in her district, so when her family ran out, they reached out to Antony Ratheesh, a civil police officer.

Ratheesh contacted a friend — Vishnu, a former police officer who is now a sergeant at Thiruvananthapuram Medical College — for help with getting the medicines from the Regional Cancer Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.

Vishnu took the prescription from him and left on March 29, the police officer said.

Long Ride:

It turned out that the prescription Vishnu was carrying was old, but a doctor who knew the patient realised she needed different medication. Vishnu managed to get what she needed from the pharmacy, but not without facing hassles for hours.

But one challenge remained: the girl needed the medicines by 6 pm that day.

Vishnu first tried to send them halfway till Kollam. That plan didn’t work out.

So he decided to ride back to Alappuzha.

“Vishnu managed to hand over the medicine to the family by 5:10 pm,” said Antony Ratheesh, the police officer. “It was such a risk riding his…motorcycle for over 150 km within a short span of time.”

Ratheesh said the girl’s family is poor and is “struggling to meet the expenses of the treatment”, and hopes someone will step up to help them out.

Vishnu didn’t take any money from them, he said.