Mail News Service
Jamshedpur, Aug 19: Hailing from Panihara viilage of Darbhanga district in Bihar, Dr Nagendra Singh had to treck through the corridors of popverty and emerge as an outstanding Master of Surgery serving a beleagured mankind for more than thirty years with dignity and fame and termed a Messiah of the Poor and sometimes, The Vegetable Doctor because cured patients who got a second shot at life offered vegetables from their fields as gratitude for the man who lives by every alphabet of the Hippocratic Oath that medics take on graduation but sadly, a few live by while treating patients.
There are uncountable instances of patients, unable to dole out the fees are turned away to die a painful death. But not so with those who knock on the doors of Ganga Memorial Hospital on Dimna Road in Mango. Money here is never a consideration while cure definitely is. Dr Nagendra Singh who heads this hospital has not forgotten his mother’s wish, “Son, first treat the patient and then ask for minimum fees. if the patient is unable to pay for his treatment, don’t insist but accept whatever is given to you. Even when unable to pay, treat the patient until totally cured.
His healthy life and blessings will be more than your remmuneration.”There have been times when Dr Singh has had to deal with emergency situations where tough and spot medical decisions have had to be taken and never has this Surgeon been c aught on th wrong foot. His dedication, his acumen as a doctor and surgeon and his benign attitude have added to a fairytale fame especially among the poor and needy who continue to live and sing paens of Dr Nagendra Singh and his exemplary cures.In a mild conversation with Dr Nagendra Singh in his chamber at Ganga Memorial Hospital, the famed Vegetable Doctor stated humbly, “My father was a poor farmer who managed to eke out two square meals for the family.
My mother used to spin the Charkha and that took care of our educational expenses. My father died because there was no money at home to meet his medical expenses. This sad incident made me take a do or die decision to pursue medical studies and work to ameliorate pain of the poor. My corageous mother egged me on and what I am today is largely due to her blessings and love of the poor.”Dr Nagendra Singh did his schooling in his native village. He enrolled in Magadh University in Gaya from where he got his MBBS Degree. He then proceeded to obtain his MS (Surgery) from RIMS in Ranchi in 1990. His first place of posting was in the Primary Health Centre in Baharagora.
“It was here that saw the fruition of my dreams and determination. I used to visit distant and often inaccessible villages either on foot or by bicycle. I conducted medical camps and surgeries at these makeshift camps under trees. Peopel who could not afford medical trteatment or surgery were provided assistance at such camps. Though stranuous, the satisfaction gained was tremendous. The smile on the faces of the poor villagers shone like God’s blessings,” the medic revealed.Once, during his Baharagora stint, the bordering village of Gurabanda turned the zone for diorreha and people were vommitting.
But the swollen Swarnrekha River made it impossible to reach out and provide medical help to the people. Dr Singh avail;ed of a boat, took with him adequate stocks of saline and other medical utilities and reachd Gudabanda. with th assistance of the local Sahaiya and some youth, he contionued treating patients over two nights and days. at places he had to hang saline bottles from the roof beams of thatched houses. Local youth brought in additional supplies of medicines and green coconuts from the Bombay Chowk. Many lives were saved on the occasion by the determination to serve.
But that is but one of the many more incidents that established Dr nagendra Singh’s reputation as the Messaiah of the Porr.The trtemendous respect for tghe doctor saw the establishment of Singh Nursing Home in Baharagora. The whole hearted support of the people formed the capital investment. Dr Nagendra Singh narrated an incident that really reflected why he was held in so high esteem. “Once, I was preparing for an operation in th OT of the Nursing Home when I heard shouts and frantic banging on the entrance door. I left the OT and went out only to see a crowd of people with a bleeding and semiconcious youth pleading for immediate attention.
The youth had been stabbed by miscreants and he was bleeding profusely. Without a second thought, I took the young man straight to the OT. I did not have time enough to administer anesthesia. I used local anesthesia, opened up his abdomen and repaiured the bleeding vein and other injuries. The young man, 30 years old and a Godrej employee, recovered after the operation. This surgery helped me to complete my thesis on, “Injuries inflectd by sharp weapons and their cure.” Today, after so many years, the man visits me and thanks me and he never forgets to bring his fresh vegetable farm produce.
“From Baharagora, Dr Singh went to Ghatshila wher he set up his clinic in a rented apartment. Singh Nursing Home at Baharagora was handed over to Sishu Mandir where a school is being run successfully. In Ghatshila too, Dr Nagendra Singh attained polpularity in quick time. The Nawag Saheb of Nawakothi was so impressed that he offered Dr Singh a preferrable plot of land on loan instalment where he set up Singh Nursing Home. This too became a heaven for the community of ‘have nots.’ After his Ghatshila ‘do good’ phase, Dr Nagendra Singh shifted to Jamshedpur and set up Ganga Memorial Hospital in memory of his late mother. Fifteen years on, Dr Singh and his eqaully dedicated team of medical personnel have continued to cater to the medical needs of espcially the poor where stae of he art of surgical facilities abound.
Poor patients are operated upon and medicines, food, accomodation and return journeys are all borne by the hospital. Several cases of Dr Singh’s benignity have been reported in these columns on numerous occasions. To make a list of all these would take tons of pages and yet remain incomplete. it would just suffice to mention that when government and private hospitals shut their doors to patient in immediate need of medical attention and surgery, turn to Ganga Memorial Hospital where they are treated with utmost care with monetary consideration.Dr Singh wants to set up different units for different cures but the main hindranc e to his dream is land crunch. He desires government support for aquisition of land to buil;d such specialized hospital where service to the poor would be a priority.
As it is, his fame sees a regular stream of patients from the bodering states of Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha getting medical succor from Ganga Memorial Hospital. Thew genial behaviour, friendly approach and speaking to patients in their dialests accounts for 50 percent of the curative process. The rest is the reassuring aptitude of his golden hands.Dr Singh seeks an appointment with the Chief Minister and spell out his dreams. He said, “I want to convert the present setup into a superspeciality hospital so that patients coming here need not be referred to other hospitals. This will be a boon not only for the p[eople of Kolhan Region but also for those coming in from the bordering areas of Bihar, Bengal and Odisha.
We will start a special DNB Course that will see specialist doctors emerging each year thereby adding to the pool of medics. I am putting in my own humble support to ensure the Chief Minster’s dream of reaching out medical services to the last person in the state.”The man who continues to live and breathe by the Hippocrate’s Oath has been ceaseessly working for the relief of a ‘rebuked and deprived mankind’ even throgh the lockdown times when most hospitals and nursing homes either had their doors shut or demanded exhorbitant charges from people who did not know where or when the next meal was coming from. “I will never forget what my mother had asked me to do and I will continue to abide by her directives, remembering my father’s plight till my last breath.”