The medical profession is by no means an easy one especially in a country like India where, as per WHO, there is only 1 doctor for every 921 patients. And then there are surmounting costs of healthcare that burn a hole in oneâ€™s pockets and singe the patientâ€™s household. Amidst such adversity, we found Dr. Vandana Goel who, profoundly and seemingly effortlessly, devotes all her days to curing the ones to whom the daily bread is a luxury and healthcare a remote possibility.
Under our unintentional Indirapuram series, we chanced upon Dr. Goel and caught her in the middle of her busy routine. Her being captured by our camera was deprioritised in favour of the growing queue of her patients. At Mahagun Society phase I and II, Indirapuram, UP, Dr. Vandana Goel continues to treat the housing society’s support staff and extends her services to anyone who knocks at her door any time of the day or night.
Who wills the end, wills the means
In June 2015 Dr. Goel retired as additional director, gynecologist, but on insistence of the department kept catering to the constant need for experienced doctors and the scarcity thereof. Effectively Dr. Vandana has never really retired, she was aiding with health camps, training junior students right after her official retirement in June 2015. In Feb 2016, she started seeing patients gratuitously in the Gurudwara (Sikh temple) in her neighbourhood over the weekends. In May 2016, she volunteered at Mahagun Mansion Phase 1, where the RWA lapped her offer and assisted her in setting up her clinic within their premises to benefit the support staff and their families free of cost. Not only did she not charge for her time but also gave her medicines. She herself resides in Mahagun Mansion Phase II and the authorities then requested her to extend similar services there too. Dr. Goel, who takes care of her family and her ailing husband, was not able to turn off a request for a greater cause.
Not only does she attend to patients but conducts regular examinations for the needy children who study in the housing complex. The responsibility of running the entire clinic herself also did not dissuade her from starting her free-treatment clinic but she did get help from other residents and like-minded people of her neighbourhood who aided her by being her staff and in fact also cleared a room in the community hall to run her clinic more efficiently. Both the housing societies and the Gurudwara committee have arranged for the basic equipment and roster themselves as her assistants. The medicines are also bought with the donations from the entire society residents so much so that Dr. Goel has never run out of medicines or other resources.
Nursing the common dream
Dr. Goel credits all her compatriots in realising their common dream, creating a healthy world, a happy world, not just for their family and friends but everyone around. Her husband too, a doctor himself, also aids in her work, when his health permits him.
She attends to about 25 patients in a day and attends to them five days a week. Dr. Goel in all humility says she has a long way to go and is aiding the society as steered by the almighty. The doors of her home are always open to anyone in need and she never refuses an ailing person. Though the society residents quite conscientiously provide the medicines she needs, Dr. Goel also uses her personal funds when required. She hopes other doctors join her mission and is waiting for the day when every able health practitioner can help alleviate the collective pain in our society. She hopes she will be joined by lab technicians and pharmacies who will volunteer to promote her campaign of healing more. Dr. Goel also gives care at Jaya Prayas foundation which is another voluntary organisation in Indirapuram that teaches underprivileged children.
Mending the spirit: The only way she knows how to
Dr. Goel says she is self-motivated and was often disturbed by some remissness prevalent in her profession or negligence of her patients that hurt her a lot, and hence tried to balance the equation by advancing her services to the best of her ability. ‘I am blessed if i can make myself available to the service of others’, she says. Dr. Goel is a true patriot and harbours the dream of ‘care giving of those that are safeguarding us on our country’s border’.
For the common man, an appointment with the doctor is not just a physical trauma, it is an even bigger financial and thereby emotional trauma. Dr. Vandana Goel is a testimony of humanity who heals with her kindness and devotion and despite her official retirement, is still sworn under the Hippocratic oath and more than that sworn under the compassion oath.