“I remember the time I was treating a patient who could not afford a consult. Raised Rs. 85,000, reached out to trusts for the rest of the funds so the hospital could operate on him the following week. By the time we could bring in the funds, he lost his life. I still cannot forget the mother’s face, and how much she struggled to bring him to us. I never want to lose a patient again when there is a possibility for us to save them.” – Dr. Zainul Hamdulay
In Maharashtra where poverty is an endemic and families cannot afford a decent meal a day, let alone a trip to the emergency room, there exists a cardiac surgeon who hopes to save over 700 lives by pooling in Zakat and Sadaqa this Ramadan.
Every cardiac surgeon literally holds the hearts of people, but Dr. Zainul Hamdulay is a person these people hold very dearly in their hearts. They call him the savior, as he dedicates his time towards treating the those who come from downtrodden backgrounds, conducting health camps in rural areas, and raising funds for patients who are unable to afford emergency life-saving procedures.
“We do not want patients to be ignored due to lack of funds. There is no bias in medicine. We want to make sure every patient is treated equal regardless of whether they have money or not. We take care of them, and ensure that their treatment goes smoothly.”
Often patients lose out of their chance to survive because of delay in funding. To remedy this, Dr. Hamdulay decided to sponsor a part of the surgery trying to encourage other partners to join their cause. This was the beginning of Hamdulay Heart Foundation. Soon enough, the time period to fund a surgery reduced significantly from 3-6 months to 1 month to less than 25 days. Now the Foundation has a corpus fund that contributes to these surgeries and takes care of all pre-op workup completely free of cost.
“Most of these people in rural areas or low-income households do not even go to the doctor because they cannot afford consultation fee. They are hardly aware of medical illnesses, so when it gets critical, they are left with no other option but to rush for help, or succumb to it. Sometimes, families come to me when the patient’s condition is beyond help. It is painful to see them in such a state. We can prevent fatality and this is what we are working on through the Foundation.”
For generations, Dr. Hamdulay’s family has been helping the poor. He started the Foundation in the memory of his late mother who was a firm believer in the importance of Zakat. Dr. Hamdulay and his team have helped 263 patients have bypass surgeries, angioplasties and angiographies. They have also given cardiac check-ups to 859 people. This year, they want to reach much more people and give them timely, life-saving treatment.
“Zakat is a way of self-purification, through which we share the grace of Allah with people who truly deserve. The funds are used to better the lives of people who are Mustaheeq-e-Zakat. We choose to use the funds for healthcare. One of these beneficiaries will be Munira Begum.”
Munira Begum is the wife of a retired driver. Her heart condition has been getting worse over the past few years. Although one of their sons is supporting them, it has been hard for the family to help Munira recover. She writhes in pain every night, sometimes collapses on the street, in the bathroom, and has to be carried up and down three flights of their apartment every time they have to go out. At her age, the pain is unbearable, and giving up is the worst anyone can do. This Zakat fund will help Munira and a hundred people like herself live a pain-free life.
“Dr. Hamdulay ne mayusi ke badal hata diya aur sari jhanjhat khatam kar di. Woh Allah ki taraf se ek bheje hue Massiah hai jinhone humari musibat ko door kar diya.” – Ekramullah (A Patient of Dr. Hamdulay)
This year, for Ramadan the foundation hopes to enable 100 bypass surgeries, 100 angioplasties, and 500 angiographies for patients who are Mustaheeq-e-Zakat at no cost. Dr. Hamdulay has started a crowdfunding initiative so our Zakat and Sadaqa can be pooled together to make a bigger impact on the lives of the less fortunate.
“It is very heartening to see my patients come back a year or two after the surgery. Children come back thanking me for the lives of their father. Parents come back with tears in their eyes proudly talking about their children’s achievements – children, who would not have lived if it wasn’t for these surgeries. They bring small tokens of appreciation. They call me a savior. These experiences are changing. I feel blessed and happy.”