Sunday, December 5

Director goes back to his stethoscope after 14 years

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The pandemic and the cyclone have compelled a Bengali filmmaker to return to the medical profession after 14 years. Kamaleswar Mukherjee, known for “Chander Pahar” and “Meghe Dhaka Tara”, among others, had quit practising medicine in 2006. But the plight of the marginalized people has prompted him to attend medical camps in villages.

A student of Medical College Hospital, Mukherjee was a house staff in the cardiology department of SSKM. Subsequently, he served in various state-run and private hospitals, including Kothari Medical Centre, Sri Aurobindo Seva Kendra and Woodlands Multispeciality Hospital Limited. In most cases, his job was to attend to patients in the ICU. However, his passion for movies and theatre made him change tracks. The pandemic has again changed his choice. “For all these years, I didn’t practise professionally. But I knew if the situation demanded, I would go back to serving people,” Mukherjee said.

The director has attended several health camps in south Bengal, including Metekhali Bazar, Sandeshkhali, Raidighi and Sunderbans. The job requires him to function both as a doctor and a compounder. “Sometimes, I need to manage the queues too so that social distancing is maintained,” he added.

Being confined at home during lockdown gave him a lot of free time when he could actually get involved in giving this free service to patients. “After the pandemic and the cyclone, the marginal population is in a terrible condition. I thought why not utilize this free time to give some service to these people. So, I joined my friends in the West Bengal Doctors’ Forum to attend the health camps. I am indebted to Shramajibi Swastho Udyuog and Rashbehari Sahilushik who helped us with the doctors and volunteers,” he said.

Though corona cases are increasing, most of complaints he dealt with are not to do with fever. “These people are suffering from acute malnutrition and skin disease. There is vitamin and iron deficiency. We expect massive cases of diarrhoea to hit these people if water pollution can’t be controlled during re-watering of sweet water bodies contaminated with salt water,” he said.

On being asked if he will offer services in Kolkata as well, the director said, “It all depends on the need. If there is acute crisis of doctors, I will definitely step in. If someone organizes a health camp in Kolkata, we will definitely go there.”

On Sunday, he will be going to a medical camp in Hasnabad. “I was once in charge of the ICU of EEDF. These 14 years of not being professionally involved will not come in the way of stepping in times of need,” he signed off.

 

Source: Times of India

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