AIIMS Shopkeeper, ‘Rehmat Uncle’ to Budding Doctors, Dies in Search of Hospital Bed

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Rehmat uncle of AIIMS

Vacancy at Delhi’s premier hospital is zero at the moment, which means that even if ‘one of us gets sick, we are on our own’

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI— For 22 years ‘Rehmat Uncle’ served the budding doctors of All India Institute of Medical Sciences with a smile. He ran a lone shop at the hostel compound of the institute where he sold chips, chocolates, soft drinks and notebooks.

But on Wednesday when his symptoms severed, his family scrambled for a bed in hospital. His own AIIMS was running full. The family tried to find a hospital at DRDO but no luck.

He was brought home and put on oxygen piped in from the cylinder that the family had arranged by paying a whopping R 26000. It lasted for a few hours only. At 2 AM the supply stopped and his O2 level plummeted. There was no way the family could find another cylinder at that ungodly hour. Rehmat died early thursday morning.

An anonymous healthcare worker was quoted by Indian Express as saying, “He tried to get a bed in AIIMS but he could not get one… Vacancy is zero at the moment, which means that even if one of us gets sick, we are on our own.”

Rehmat, who originally hailed from Bihar, is survived by wife and two daughters. He had done his MA and B. Ed from Jamia. After his education, instead of going for employment, he chose to be his own boss and he was lucky to get to run the shop at AIIMS.
Few days back when he fell ill, he pulled the shutters down and pasted a note that read: “Tabiyat kharab hai, aaj dukaan band rahegi (I am unwell, the store will be closed today).”
The doctors at AIIMS remember Rehmat fondly. “I know him very well. He was a very nice person,” said Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, a former head of the AIIMS resident Doctors Association.

Pawan Sharma, a resident doctor at AIIMS, told Indian express that Rehmat was helpful. “I remember, when the pandemic started and all other stores were shut, he told us that he is with us in our fight against Covid. He had agreed to keep his store open 24×7 to help us. For some reasons, the administration did not allow it… but he was always ready to help,” he said.

AIIMS Student Union Saturday started a fund raiser for the family of Rehmat, its president Rajan Patel said.

“we are doing this fundraiser to support Rehmat Uncle’s family financially,” said Patel. “Students, staff, alumni are making contributions.”

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