The real meaning of medicine is care and extending a helping hand, yet somewhere along the way things have changed.
Falling ill today is something people dread more than ever before. The endless tests and investigations, the spiraling costs of treatment and hospitalization, the lack of personal care and attention – these are the stuff of nightmares. Concern seems to have given way to the imperatives of cash. And hospitals and medical centres have begun to function more and more like profit-oriented corporate organizations.
There is no one to blame. It is just the way things are in the modern world, with its critical shortage of time and its seemingly single-minded focus on the bottom line.
But there are a dedicated few who swim against this tide. Individuals and institutions around the world whose motivation is compassion rather than commerce. Who uphold the promise to serve those disadvantaged and rural sections of society who are in dire need of caring and competent healthcare. Charutar Arogya Mandal (CAM) is among those dedicated few.
CAM was set up 30 years ago as a venture of faith, to manage a small, 130-odd bed hospital in Karamsad. The founder chairman of this charitable trust was the late Dr HM Patel, former Finance and Home Minister of India. His vision: to offer comprehensive and personalised health care, delivered with commitment, compassion and at an affordable cost to all those in need of it.
The Shree Krishna Hospital has come a long way since those early days. Today, it is ranked among Gujarat's most professional healthcare centres, complete with facilities like ICUs, OTs, a Trauma Centre, MRI and CT-Scan Machines, NABL-accredited Labs, and a NABH-accredited Blood Bank. It also houses a state-of-the-art Cardiac Centre and a modern Cancer Centre with a Linear Accelerator and facilities for chemotherapy. A world away from the main cities and surrounded by 100 acres of lush greenery, the hospital is an ideal environment for rest and recovery.
CAM also manages an affiliated and attached medical college, institute of post-graduate studies, school of nursing and an institute of physiotherapy. In these students CAM finds young, energetic ambassadors, ready to spearhead its vision.
The journey over the last three decades in creating and sustaining these institutions of excellence has been challenging. We do not charge any registration or consultation fee for outdoor consultations and medical advice. We do not charge for stay or diet in our general wards. We do not turn away a single emergency case, and being the only Trauma Centre of its kind between Ahmedabad and Vadodara, we see many such cases.
We even offer substantial discounts in our treatment cost to those living below the poverty line, women and children.
The College does its share too, admitting students from economically disadvantaged families to its MBBS course on scholarship, at a paltry fee of Rs. 5,000 per year. All other expenses, including lodging, boarding and tuition expenses are borne by the College. Though this entails a heavy financial burden – more than 27.5 million (US$ 600,000) annually – we recognize this as an important investment towards achieving a larger vision.
Charutar Arogya Mandal (CAM), is an outcome of a dream cherished by late Dr HM Patel, a former Union Finance and Home Minister. He embarked on building an institution which he envisioned would fill the need long-felt, that for a faculty of Medicine, not many thought would succeed. But determined he was to succeed and went about his task with the same missionary zeal and enthusiasm that characterised much of his work in building Vallabh Vidyanagar. The result: an institution that has now grown to include a Medical Council of India recognised medical college, a 720-bed hospital, an institutue of post-graduate studies, a school of nursing.
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