When a Rotarian rushed to help

Rotarians never tire of saying how belonging to this fraternity gives them a feeling of not only ­camaraderie but also security. Children of ­Rotarians stuck at airports in faraway lands have been helped immediately just by a Rotary District Governor or President of a club reaching out to another leader in that particular city.

This Dussehra too, Rotary unveiled, yet again, its power to do good and help somebody in ­distress. The other day on ­Facebook I came across a post from Vidyottama Sharma, who runs a content creation company in Mumbai and is the spouse of District 3141 DG Prafull Sharma. It began thus: “Rotary, you have immense power and an awesome network. I am a die-hard fan of this amazing NGO. Thank you.”

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She added that while they were out attending a gathering one evening, she noticed “Prafull leaving the place every now and then, going to a corner and making frenzied calls.” Though she heard the name of D 3240 DG Sunil Saraf mentioned often, she did not want to disturb him. But after 90 minutes of repeated calls, Sharma revealed that all this had to do with a bit of a crisis in Guwahati.

Sharma had got a call from Punit Bhatra, President of RC Mumbai Nova, who said one of his club members had called to seek some urgent medical help in the Assam capital. His employee’s sister had delivered a baby a few days earlier and the newborn had got severe jaundice and was in urgent need of blood transfusion. But the little baby boy’s blood group was O negative, and wasn’t available in the local blood bank. Could Sharma help to trace some Rotarians in Guwahati who could render immediate help by rushing an O negative blood group donor to the hospital? The child’s life was in danger.

Sharma immediately got in touch with RID 3240 Governor Sunil Saraf, who in turn contacted RC Guwahati East President Rohit Sarawgi. “It was a ­Sunday evening, and the festival of Dussehra. We were at home and DG Saraf asked me to expect a call for help from somebody for O negative blood.” He got the call, and rushed to the hospital, having the presence of mind to take along with him his wife Nupur, whose blood group happened to be O negative.

“But on reaching the ­hospital, we were told by the doctor that the baby had recovered and was for the present out of danger. Had you come a day earlier I would have taken the blood ­immediately, he said. But he told us to be on call, and sent us to another hospital to do some tests, for which the facilities were not available at the hospital where the baby, who came from a lower-middle class family, was being treated,” Sarawgi told Rotary News.

Rotary, you have immense power and an awesome network. I am a die-hard fan of this amazing NGO. — Vidyottama Sharma spouse of DG Prafull Sharma

It was 11 pm by the time they returned home. But even though the blood was not required (“the story was posted on FB saying the blood was donated, before I could tell them it was not required”) he kept in touch with the hospital and the paediatrician, got the baby’s progress reports and “cross-checked them with my sister who is a pathologist. And she confirmed that the little baby was recovering well and would not need a blood transfusion.”

He kept following up till the baby was shifted from the ICU to an ordinary ward.

Even though ultimately a blood transfusion was not required, what touches the heart is the fact that within 90 minutes of the first call for help being made to DG Sharma in Mumbai, a Rotarian had rushed to a hospital in Guwahati to help.

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