“The pilgrims were mostly senior citizens. Thankfully, they did not have major injuries or fracture”

Doctors these days must arm themselves not only with stethoscopes but also Facebook accounts. Sometimes, Facebook, with its finger on the pulse of society, seems like a stronger tool.

Krishnan Balaji, who has just completed his MD in Community Medicine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences was online past midnight on Thursday surfing Facebook when he saw a message on the wall of a friend, Mariano Anto Bruno Mascarenhas. It was a request for help from Tamil-speaking doctors in Delhi to treat Tamil pilgrims from Uttarakhand.

“I replied. By then, the appeal had also been seen by a few others from the State in AIIMS. I told them that I would go in person and then call for help if was needed,” Dr. Balaji explained.

On Friday morning, at Tamil Nadu House, he found a steady stream of pilgrims. “Most of them were senior citizens but thankfully, there were few major injuries or fractures. Many suffered from diarrhoea, because of the water and food they had consumed over the last few days,” Dr. Balaji said. They were glad to speak in Tamil and apparently complained of not being able to communicate at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

Dr. Balaji wrote out prescriptions for them. Once a team from Tamil Nadu arrived, he helped them source equipment. “I had asked my friends to come after noon, but by then, the team had come in from TN and there were enough doctors. So, our role was limited. But it was exciting. It was nice to know that idle browsing on Facebook serves a larger humanitarian purpose,” Dr. Balaji said. ‘Like’ worthy, indeed.

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