Trans­porter who helps el­derly pa­tients for free

The Star Malaysia - - Nation - By ELAN PERUMAL elan@thes­tar.com.my

KLANG: Trans­port­ing his late grand­mother, who was a heart pa­tient, for her med­i­cal check-ups at the National Heart In­sti­tute in­spired M. Sashitharaan to pro­vide a shut­tle ser­vice for el­derly pa­tients in his neigh­bour­hood.

“I re­alised I was able to at­tend to my grand­mother’s needs be­cause I was run­ning my own business. But it would be very dif­fi­cult for oth­ers who are work­ing,” he said.

The 35-year-old en­tre­pre­neur, who is one of the 10 win­ners of this year’s Star Golden Hearts Award, has helped more than 100 sick peo­ple for over a year by pro­vid­ing them with free trans­port to med­i­cal cen­tres, gov­ern­ment clin­ics and hos­pi­tals.

The Port Klang-born man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Sri Sairam En­ter­prise Sdn Bhd ar­ranges to fetch pa­tients who are 60 and above for dial­y­sis and med­i­cal ap­point­ments in Klang and Shah Alam.

“I take a lot of joy from the feed­back I get from pa­tients who re­ceive the free trans­port ser­vice,” said the Ban­dar Botanic MIC chair­man. “I am grate­ful that I have been granted the op­por­tu­nity to of­fer my lit­tle ser­vice to these peo­ple who are in need.”

Sashitharaan re­alised that most of the chil­dren or spouse of the pa­tients had dif­fi­culty send­ing them for med­i­cal check-ups.

The busy work­ing chil­dren would be forced to ad­just their rou­tine so that they could take their par­ents for the ap­point­ment.

Some had to spend a lot on taxi fares for such a pur­pose.

“All those in­volved, in­clud­ing the pa­tients and their fam­ily, have been go­ing through some form of strug­gle,” he said.

In the be­gin­ning, Sashitharaan catered only to el­derly pa­tients who pa­tro­n­ised gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals, but grad­u­ally ex­panded the ser­vice to in­clude dial­y­sis pa­tients.

He started by dis­tribut­ing ap­pli­ca­tion forms for the free trans­port to pa­tients at the Tengku Am­puan Rahimah Hos­pi­tal in Klang and the ser­vice took off with 10 pa­tients.

“We have more than 110 pa­tients now and a large num­ber of them are dial­y­sis pa­tients who have to make three vis­its ev­ery week com­pared to only one visit in three months for med­i­cal check-ups,” he said.

Sashitharaan is happy that his ser­vice has reached out to peo­ple in need from all races and so­cial back­grounds – in­clud­ing those who are wealthy but still need the ser­vice.

“I feel good to see Malaysians of all races ben­e­fit­ing from the free ser­vice,” he said, adding that he bought a new 10-seater van and hired a driver.

He spends RM8,000 a month on the van in­stal­ment, salary, fuel and main­te­nance.

His of­fice keeps a data­base of the pa­tients and also main­tains a per­sonal file on each of them, with records of vis­its and check-ups at the dial­y­sis cen­tres and hos­pi­tals.

One of his of­fice em­ploy­ees vol­un­teered to man­age all the record keep­ing.

“I be­lieve there will be oth­ers like my staff who are in­spired to do their part,” he said.

“I hope young lead­ers will find a role for them­selves to serve so­ci­ety and not spend too much time rub­bing shoul­ders with top lead­ers.”

Sashitharaan re­veals that K. Chan­drasegaran, 33, who drives the van, has done a won­der­ful job.

The for­mer taxi driver, he said, was very ded­i­cated and served the pa­tients both as the driver and min­der.

“His day starts at 4.45am and he works un­til 9.30pm on most days as he sends the last pa­tient home,” he said.

So­cial ser­vice: Sashitharaan (in green shirt) and Chan­drasegaran (in brown shirt) as­sist­ing a pa­tient into the van fol­low­ing a dial­y­sis ses­sion at a pri­vate med­i­cal cen­tre in Klang.

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