Chengannur: Dr Sherly Philip believes in destiny. She believes she was destined to be in Chengannur to help provide medical care to the flood affected populace. She says she is ready to go to the front lines of disasters again.
Dr Philip, a medical officer of the Chengannur ESI Dispensary, lives near the ITI Junction in the town with her 90-year-old mother. She had to wade through the rising water in the streets to return home from work on August 15. Later that night, she received a call from one of the staff whose house had also waterlogged. Still, she did not have any clue of what was to come.
While riding to the clinic the next day, she could not believe her senses. People displaced by the flood were pouring in to the engineering college. There were elders, sick, and children among them. She went straight to one of the few medical stores which were still open, stocked up on essentials and went straight to the brimming relief camp.
She met almost everyone in the camp and supplied medicines wherever necessary. Students of the engineering college stood by her. Within a few minutes, the youngsters were equipped with the basic knowledge to act as healthcare volunteers.
Dr Philip knew no rest until August 31. She spent most of her time in the camp as the clinic was also flooded.
Soon she was joined by other medical practitioners. Dr Binu was one of the people displaced by the pouring rain and the flooded river. Another relief camp was opened at the Christian College ground. Camps sprouted at the CSI Church, the Malankara Catholic Church, the SNDP Hall and the YMCA Hall.
Dr Philip and her helpers went from camp to camp, tending to the ill and the elderly. Soon, loads of medicines reached the camps. Other doctors came too. A camp was opened in the district hospital at Chengannur.
Dr Philip was one of the first responders at Chengannur. The doctors who came later lauded her tireless work.
For Dr Philip, disaster response is nothing new. She cut her teeth in disaster response in the plague-stricken Surat, where she was pursuing a post graduation degree in the medical college.
She has been awarded the best doctor in the insurance medical service category in 2015. An acclaimed long jumper, she has acted as the captain of the athletic team of the Kerala University.
A native of Mukhathala near Kollam, she joined the ESI Dispensary at Chengannur three years ago. She is married to Dr Philip Puthumana, a plastic surgeon at the Caritas Hospital in Kottayam. Her son and daughter are medical students.
Dr Philip P Puthumana is pursuing a post graduation degree after studies in the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. Anu Philip is a final-year student at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College.