Gurmeet Singh has been helping abandoned patients in city of Patna, India, for the past 20 years.
Illustrating a large issue within the area, the hospital ward Singh attends to is often dubbed “lawaris,” which means abandoned, reflecting the fact that it treats patients who have either been rejected by their family or who do not have anyone to help support them.
In fact, after they recover, patients are often bound to return to a life on the streets if they are not fortunate enough to be sent to a rehabilitation house, which makes the ward a temporary home.
Singh has visitied the ward every night for the past 20 years with food and needed medicine, according to BBC, notably without a vacation from his mission for the past 13 years.
His normal schedule involves leaving his apartment, whose floor he shares with his five brothers, at 9 p.m. each evening. Before heading to the hospital, he usually purchases food from a cheap “hole-in-the-wall” establishment, buying things such as eggs, curd, bread, or salad, that he gives to the patients. His brothers also help Singh to afford his charitable gifts by donating 10 percent of their earnings for his cause.
When he reaches the ward, he asks about a patient’s condition, goes through their prescriptions, and pays for the more expensive treatments the hospital does not provide for free.Singh must wear many hats, especially since there is a significant lack of doctors and nurses who can help. Giving of himself even to a literal degree, he also donates his own blood if the need arises.
“All they need is some dignity and some care. The government is not even able to provide that. In the past 22 years that I have been coming here, nothing has improved in this ward. Nothing,” described Singh in a statement. Even with all Singh does, there is still a lot for the patients to endure. Many have to sleep on the floor due to a lack of beds, for example.
Singh explained that the incident that inspired him to become such an angel of mercy took place when he saw a poor woman with a son whose skin had been badly scalded.
As he explained, “It was a hot day. I saw tears in her eyes. Then I saw her boy who had got burnt. I took them to this hospital, and found that there was nobody to treat him. The doctors were on strike. The poor and the abandoned were the worst affected. I was very angry. I decided to do something about it.”
Singh has received approval from authorities in the area for his work, even receiving letters of admiration, but he reportedly does not like to be in the spotlight. Instead, he’d just prefer to continue his work.