Mapping The Route
- This November 20 children will make a trip to Fortis hospital, Bangalore
- Their surgeries will happen at one-third the cost thanks to Chinappan
When left untreated, congenital heart diseases can lead to a slow death. With cardiac surgeries costing upward of a lakh, the poor have few options. But P. Chinappan (55)—with the assistance of a solitary woman, Rita Michael—has restored the hearts of nearly 600 children living in slums in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Orissa. Come November 15, yet another group of 20 children will be making the trip to Fortis, Bangalore, for surgery. Many of them require not one but multiple surgeries, says Dr Joseph Xavier, a cardiologist at Fortis. The hospital claims to perform the surgeries at one-third the cost. The middle-aged priest’s ‘Sneh Heart Society’ operates from a slum on Kolar Road on the outskirts of Bhopal. This is where he came to live in 1997. Slum-dwellers were suspicious, he admits. He won them over by sweeping the place. He then began teaching children and a school followed. Today ‘Pushp Vidyalaya’ boasts of ten rooms, built one room at a time, and an equal number of teachers and imparts education till class VIII.