Doc on wheels delivers Covid care

Doc on wheels delivers Covid care

Dr Sunil Kumar Hebbi goes around in his car and treats poor people for free

A doctor running a mobile clinic is winning praise for treating poor people affected by the pandemic.

Dr Sunil Kumar Hebbi believes if patients can’t reach him, he must reach them. Since the lockdown began on May 10, he has treated close to 500 Covid-positive patients in home isolation. He travels more than 120 km a day in his car.  

The 37-year-old Malleswaram resident hails from Mamadapura village in Bijapur district. After finishing his 12-hour night shift (8 pm to 8 am) at the BBMP Covid clinic in Goripalya, he visits patients throughout the day. He takes a nap from 1 to 3 pm and sleeps for a few hours after midnight. “I receive 50-60 calls a day, but manage to visit only 15-20 homes,” he tells Metrolife.  So what inspired him to start a mobile clinic? “As I come from a village, I know how people struggle for good healthcare. My parents travelled more than 50 km to reach a good hospital,” he explains. 

It has been 13 years since he began a mobile clinic through the ‘Matru Siri Foundation’. The multiple-award-winning doctor has treated more than one lakh patients across the city free of cost. He worked at the BGS Hospital before quitting in 2011 to devote more time to the mobile clinic.

His family is worried about his health. “They wanted me to stop the mobile clinic after my brother’s son succumbed to Covid-19. But I was back on duty the very next day,” he says. Hebbi narrates an incident that convinced him to keep his clinic going. “I treated a person who had met with an accident near Hosur Road. He was rushed to the hospital. His mother came to meet me the next day, touched my feet, and thanked me for saving her son. This incident melted my heart,” he recollects. 

Before reaching a patient’s house, Hebbi wears personal protection equipment (PPE) kit, stocks up on medicines, and carries blood pressure monitors, glucose monitors, oxygen concentrators, and ECG machines. “I have skin rashes on my body due to wearing the kit daily. So now, I wear it only while treating serious patients,” says the doctor, who is assisted by a nurse and an assistant doctor. He also treats patients with mild symptoms over the phone and sends medicines to them by Dunzo. “For my team, the total expenditure is between Rs 7,000 and Rs 8,000 a day,” he says. “I get some contributions from family and friends.”

He has plans to buy a Tempo Traveller as his car does not have much space to accommodate all medical devices.

Hebbi can be contacted at 97419 58428 (call and WhatsApp) or 63638 32491 (WhatsApp).

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