Larger than life – Ms Subhashini Mistry
This page is dedicated to honour the outstanding contribution by an Indian Bengali living in the UK which has made a difference to society.
In our inaugural edition, we honour doctor couple Mr. Anirban Mandal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon and Dr. Arpita Ray, Infertility Expert and Gynaecologist, who are based in Essex for providing inspiring leadership in charity, performing arts and the culinary arts. Particularly special is their association and support to Ms Subhashini Mistry, an Indian social worker who built the Humanity Hospital for the poor, who was awarded the Padma Shri in 2018.
Long term friend and IBUK website content editor, Debashis Bhattacharya caught up with Anirban Mandal in Essex.
Q: How did you meet Ms Subhashini Mistry?
Anirban Mandal: We came to know about Mrs. Subhasini Mistry, I`ll call her 8th wonder of the world, through Dadagiri show of Sourav Ganguly and Satyamev Jayate of Amir Khan show. In Jan. 2017, I visited Humanity Hospital which was founded by her.
Q: How did you get involved? Please describe your journey.
Anirban Mandal: Long-time ago, she was a vegetable and fruit seller and founded this hospital with sheer hard work amidst all problems from logistics to finance. She managed to build this hospital for the poor and the underprivileged people of Hanspukur area, Thakurpukur South 24 Parganas, near Kolkata. We were very impressed with this work and believe that if you have a will that you can achieve what seems impossible. So I visited the hospital in January 2017 along with my wife Dr. Arpita Ray and Mr. Dipankar Mukhopadhyay, Consultants in the NHS, UK and proposed to expand the hospital.
We were looking to expand it both from an infrastructure and advanced care point of view. So in August 2017, we arranged a life support course in Humanity Hospital which was well attended by more than 100 doctors, nurses and paramedics. This started the beginning of a training centre for life support and other courses which are currently deficient in West Bengal and probably the whole of India. At the same time we did the training for all sorts of medical and surgical emergencies.
We brought some of our colleagues from paediatrics, gynaecology and obstetrics and ENT from Kolkata and trained medical personnel in emergency care. Our plan is to educate the medical and nursing students, nurses and the junior doctors the state of the art management for trauma and emergencies.
We are trying to bring the best of the West to the East and have a plan to expand the hospital with a Trauma and Burn Centre in the near future using our experience in Burn and plastic surgery and holistic care with adequate team work.
We are expanding the ITU and in-patient care and also the outpatients with logistics and so far we have done quite a number of activities like fund raising concerts, fund raising logistics in 2017 and continuing in 2018 as well. Dr. Arpita Ray did a 1400 km Land's End to John O`Groats challenge in 15 hours and I am planning on 8th May, 2018 to do the reverse, driving non-stop from John O`Groats to Land's End.
Apart from that both from our organisations UK Doctorchef and Essex Indians we have done big and small scale activities including a drama show in Tapan Theatre, Kolkata – Dampati last year. We managed to raise more than Rs 6 lakhs so far which has been donated and used so far for the Intensive Care Unit and also for the operational expenses which is in financial need at the moment
Q : What is your vision?
Anirban Mandal: We wish to give back to society as best as we can. We strongly believe that apart from our professional commitments, we should have a commitment to our society and especially the society where we were brought up in India. Although we are living 5000 miles away from India, for our professional reasons, our mind and heart is still in India and we feel really proud and happy to do something for the people of India, Kolkata and West Bengal.
Q : What is your message ?
Anirban Mandal: We are very happy that we can actually implement this with our co-curricular skills, our cultural inputs and I like to tell everyone a simple message really. Just believe in yourself and keep the vision alive. It will give immense satisfaction when you can achieve something for your society, for your motherland, where you were born and brought up which probably is lot more than materialistic achievements at least to us and I strongly believe that all of you will come forward and help in this project, Humanity Hospital so that it can achieve a state of the art centre for Trauma Burns and other super specialties at free or affordable cost that can serve the poor and underprivileged people.
We are also planning for a telemedicine project that can provide medical expertise from anywhere in the world and we can involve the doctors who want to serve the community globally. The hospital is in quite a lot of financial crisis at the moment because it is serving the people free of cost and it is very difficult to continue this mammoth task for a long time. So we are planning to support this and we hope that you will all help to support us in this noble endeavour.
As told to – Debashis Bhattacharya