Kerala

First ‘COVID Warrior’ retires from service

Udhayan, an ambulance driver, who transported the first COVID patient in the country from General Hospital to MCH, Thrissur, retired on Tuesday.

Udhayan, an ambulance driver, who transported the first COVID patient in the country from General Hospital to MCH, Thrissur, retired on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

On January 30, 2020, when Udhayan V.K. was asked by the RMO (Resident Medical Officer) of the Thrissur General Hospital to transport the medical student from Wuhan University, the first COVID-19 patient of the country, to the isolation ward of the Thrissur Medical College Hospital, he did not hesitate. While serving as an ambulance driver at General Hospital, Thrissur, for more than 15 years, Udhayan had undertaken many such risky missions.

“I knew the seriousness of the situation and the risk of infection. But in such a situation an ambulance driver will not think twice.” Thus Udhayan became the first frontline COVID Warrior, other than the medical team that treated the COVID positive girl, in the country.

Since then, in the last two years, Udhayan transported thousands of COVID-19 patients - including expatriates, migrant labourers, and patients in critical condition. “Initially 99% of symptomatic people used to be COVID positive,” he recalled.

Even after transporting so many COVID patients, Udhayan has not tested positive. “I have always taken utmost care. After each trip, I will disinfect myself as well as the vehicle.” He did not even allow visitors in his house. “I stay at Koovakattukunnu, a remote village near Melur, Chalakudy. The unassuming villagers mingle closely. I did not want to put them at risk.”

As he retires on Tuesday (May 31), at the age of 56, after 17 years of service, Udhayan is proud to be part of the Health team that fought on during a most difficult period. “I am happy when people recognise my service,” he says. A bachelor, Udhayan wants to be active in voluntary services after retirement.


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Printable version | Aug 3, 2022 9:05:18 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/first-covid-warrior-retires-from-service/article65481247.ece