'Greatest 47 minutes of my life'

'Greatest 47 minutes of my life'

For ambulance driver, Devaraju S R, it was the greatest 47 minutes of his life. At the end of this gripping, tense, unprecedented drive with a human heart from BGS Hospital to Kempegowda International Airport, he was a relieved yet proud man.  

Even before he took over the wheels, the enormity of the task had overwhelmed him. “My heartbeats rose when I was told I would be driving the ambulance carrying a human heart meant for transplantation in Chennai. I just prayed to God and summoned all my energy. Eventually, my prayers and effort didn’t fail me,” Devaraju later told Deccan Herald. 

The experience was unforgettable, something beyond words for Devaraju, who had joined BGS Hospital only an year ago. A native of Kunigal and a resident of M A Pura in Kengeri, Devaraju had no clue when the hospital management first told him to be ready to head to KIA. It was 12 noon on Wednesday. 

He was on day shift. “I thought that it could be another patient to be driven off, either for a drop or a pick up which I had done so many times in the past. An hour later, the shift incharge Muniraju explained the real objective: To drive an ambulance with a human heart, to be flown to Chennai for transplantation.”

It was a task he couldn’t refuse. He had to be fast, negotiating the traffic bottlenecks ahead. “I had confidence in my ability. Yes, there was some apprehension since, for the first time, I was carrying a human heart and I had to drive very fast. I had to be careful about potential accidents. But I decided to accept all that as I was going to be part of an unforgettable endeavour to save a life," he recalled. 

At 2.10 pm, he hit the road. “With every passing signal and junction, my heart leapt. I told myself to be calm and controlled my senses. My focus was getting to the airport and quickly. Probabaly I would not have worried so much had it been a patient or any other organ,” said Devaraju. 

He thanked the traffic policemen en route, whose “brilliant” coordination eased his drive. “I could reach the destination safely purely because of their cooperation. Finally, when I reached KIA and parked the ambulance, it was 2.57 pm. It had taken me just 47 minutes,” he said, still in disbelief. 

The driver thanked his stars for being on day shift. For, he could have missed the rare opportunity. “Those were truly unforgettable moments which I will cherish till my last breath,” he gushed. Devaraju had discontinued education after SSLC and moved to Bangalore seven years ago.  

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