November 20, 2016
It was not a star, a politician or any big shot, but a simple doctor who had departed. But the crowds that gathered in the narrow streets of Siddhapudhur to pay homage to Dr V Balasubramaniam on Sunday proved that a goodhearted human being is respected more than the other three.
The streets were filled with thousands of people who have benefitted from the treatment of Dr Balasubramaniam, who had collected only a fee of Rs. 20 from each of his patients that earned him the name ‘20-rupee-doctor’. He passed away of cardiac arrest on Friday.
His mortal remains were taken to his clinic at Siddhapudhur on Sunday before being cremated and people also lit candles in front of a picture of the doctor.
Dr Balasubramaniam, a retired Medical Officer of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), had initially collected Rs. 2 from his patients for consultation and his days with the ESIC saw him move his clinic from his native place Bodinayakanur in Theni to Thirunelveli, Erode, and later to Coimbatore. He gradually increased his consultation fee from Rs. 2, Rs. 5, Rs. 10, Rs. 15 and Rs. 20 just a year ago.
However, patients who consulted him claim that this fee never increased quickly and compared to other hospitals in Coimbatore that reportedly sought fees many folds over, Dr Balasubramanian, who got the same fee for any consultation and any kind of treatment, was kind enough to collect lower fees.
T Saravanan from Gounder Mills, one of the patients who had been visiting the doctor for a long time, said that he even gave free consultation to patients who could not afford even Rs. 20.
Running the clinic to help the poor and not to make money, Dr Balasubramaniam always felt that he was given a chance to help the sick.
“God has given me sufficient money to take care of myself. I am helping the sick and the weak recover their health. Let God do the rest of the work,” Dr Balasubramaniam had told the Covai Post in an interview last year.