Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, a seriously ill IT professional was airlifted in an air ambulance from UK to Kerala for a medical emergency and admitted to a private hospital on Friday, 24 April, morning.
The evacuation of 37-year-old Prasad Das was possible thanks to the efforts of a WhatsApp group – Distress Management Collective – led by Retired Supreme court judge Kurian Joseph and former Union minister, Alphons Kannanthanam, who got ready the required clearances from various ministries within two days.
“This request for bringing the patient to Kerala came from Tom Aditya, Mayor of a UK city, who wrote to us,” he said.
“We moved fast, contacting Secretaries of Civil Aviation, Home, Health and Family Welfare, besides Kerala chief secretary and in less than two days we got the necessary approvals from the four secretaries who are the busiest people now,” Kannanthanam told PTI from New Delhi when contacted.
The funds for the evacuation was raised by Tom Aditya, though crowd funding and UST Global, where Prasad works, put in an equal amount, he said.
A native of Vadakara in Kozhikode district, Prasad was admitted to Aster MIMS hospital hereafter he underwent the necessary screening test for coronavirus.
Prasad was working in Nottingham in UK and had received treatment for gastrointestinal ailments from Aster MIMS a year go and had returned to UK after completion of the treatment.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak and UK hospitals being preoccupied with the emergencies with regard to the infection, seeking treatment locally was difficult, a hospital press release said.
Prasad contacted Dr Abhishek Rajan, senior gastrointestinal surgeon at Aster MIMS as his condition deteriorated. Kannanthanam said the 300-member Whatapp group was involved in helping the needy people across the country with food, medicines and accommodation.