Dr Kafeel Khan Packs His Bags For Kerala to Treat Nipah Virus Victims
“This is my work as a doctor”
NEW DELHI: Dr Kafeel Khan has been contacted by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to take up his offer to work for the victims of the deadly Nipah virus and is preparing to go for “as long as I am needed and the Nipah outbreak is curtailed.”
Khan has taken the decision amidst opposition from his family, with his mother reluctant to let her son leave after being in a state of uncertainty for eight months while he was in jail.
Asked about this Khan said “yes they are angry. My mother says I have got you back after so long and now you are leaving and that too to a place with this deadly disease. But I told her that I am a doctor, myt work is to treat patients, and this is my passion.”
Shortly after he spoke to The Citizen a letter written by a 31 year old nurse who died after treating a child infected with the Nipah virus went viral on the social media. Nurse Lini Puthusserry wrote to her husband saying she was not going to survive and asking him to look after her two little children, seven and two years old.
Khan who is still under suspension from the BRD Hospital where he had shot into prominence while trying to save encephalitis hit children from dying because of a shortage of oxygen supply, is still free to practice as a doctor. Asked why he had made the offer to go to Kerala he said that he had been treating encephalitis patients and saw that the symptoms were very similar with that of the new virus that is creating panic in Kerala. “I think I can help”, he said.
“ I can use my experience in treating encephalitis and as an intensive care specialist”, he said. Khan made it clear he was going alone and just till the virus was tamed.
Khan is on bail and the hearing on his case continues.He reached out to Nipah hit Kozhikode through the Facebook and initially received a positive response from the Chief Minister on FB stating, “Dr Kafeel Khan’s request to serve in the Nipah virus affected regions of Kerala has come to the attention of CM Pinarayi Vijayan. Even in the face of danger, innumerous doctors continue to toil for the benefit of society, without being mindful of their own well-being. Dr Kafeel Khan is one among them. Many medical professionals have expressed their interest to work in the Nipah affected areas of Kozhikode. The government of Kerala welcomes their service. Those who are interested to volunteer must contact the director of Health department or the Superintendent of the Government Medical College, Kozhikode.”
This has now been followed with a phone call from the CMs office firming the details. Responding to the speculation generated through sections of the media Khan made it very clear that for him this is One, a community service for which he does not want a salary;
Two he will be serving in Kerala till the Nipah outbreak;
Three, although Nipah is different, symptoms with encephalitis are similar and he feels he can use his experience for the patients;
Four, the court has not placed any restrictions on him to serve in any part of the country.