A 500-odd kilometre drive, an ailing infant on board. The brief for driver Abdul Tamim and male nurse Jinto, both natives of Kasaragod, was as direct as it could get.
Fatima Laiba, a 58-days-old girl child with Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) had to be shifted from the Pariyaram Medical College in Kannur to the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) in Thiruvananthapuram, for a surgery.
The distance, normally covered in about 12-odd hours, was done in six hours and 50 minutes. It was late on Wednesday night when Child Protect Team Kerala (CPTK), a Kasaragod-based organisation, received a message about Fatima's condition.
The team coordinated with volunteers in all districts the Intensive Care ambulance was set to pass through at 8.20 pm when Tamim and Jinto started with a police vehicle as a pilot, the word was spread and backup teams were in place en route for contingencies. "The preparations were swift and we managed to ensure that nothing slipped all through the drive. We involved police officials in our social media groups and FM radio channels helped with alerts for the public. The location of the vehicle was always tracked," Shanthakumar, vice-president of CPTK, told DH. The ambulance reached the hospital at about 3.10 am on Thursday.
Sources in SCTIMST said Fatima was under observation. "The child is suffering from a congenital heart condition. A surgery has been scheduled tomorrow (Friday)," Dr Jawahar S K, Deputy Medical Superintendent, told DH.