• Sunday, Dec 04, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

From Thakurgaon to Rangpur on rickshaw: A man’s quest to save his son’s life

  • Published at 02:32 pm April 18th, 2021
Sultana Begum holds her ailing son Jannat at Rangpur Medical College Hospital
Sultana Begum holds her ailing son Jannat at Rangpur Medical College Hospital Dhaka Tribune

Tarek Islam pulled his rickshaw for nine hours, covering 110km, to take his ailing son to hospital

A man has pulled his rickshaw for nine straight hours, crossing over a hundred kilometres, to take his 7-month-old ailing child to Rangpur Medical College Hospital from his home in Thakurgaon, as he did not have enough money to hire an ambulance.

Tarek Islam, 28, set out with his wife and son Jannat at 6am Saturday and reached Rangpur at 3:15pm covering around 110km.

Breaking into tears, Tarek described his arduous journey to reporters in front of Rangpur Medical College Hospital’s emergency department.

On Tuesday night, Jannat was admitted to Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital as his rectal bleeding turned critical. As his condition deteriorated, the duty doctor referred him to Rangpur for better treatment.

But Tarek was in a fix as he could not manage the money to hire an ambulance. Unable to find an alternative, he finally decided to go to Rangpur with his rickshaw.

Tarek said: “I was told [by doctors] to bring my daughter to Rangpur four days ago, but I could not think about renting an ambulance as I did not even have Tk100 in my pocket. I had to borrow Tk500 when I first took him to the doctor in Thakurgaon.”

He could not go out with his rickshaw during the lockdown and did not get any government support to feed his family.

Tarek Islam speaks to journalists at Rangpur Medical College Hospital | Dhaka Tribune

Tarek said: “There was a problem with my rickshaw when we were near Taraganj Upazila. An auto-rickshaw driver pulled us forward for around 10 kilometres after learning about my child’s condition.

“Then I was forced to push the rickshaw on foot for two-three kilometres to reach the destination. Another car on the road helped us reach the hospital. We finally arrived at the hospital after being on the road for nine hours.”

Tarek said that following the day’s observation, the doctors might need to conduct a surgery.

“But I do not even have Tk100 to buy the medicines, saline or injection prescribed by the doctor, let alone the money for the surgery. The only thing I can do is to pray for my son’s life to the Almighty,” Tarek said bursting into tears.

Lockdown woes

Hailing from a village in Thakurgaon Sadar Upazila, Tarek had to start pulling a rickshaw to support his family when he was only 12 years old. Aged 28, Tarek has three children.

Apart from pulling rickshaw, Tarek worked as a sound system operator at cultural events and waz mahfils to earn some extra money but the family has been in a crisis since the Covid outbreak last year.

He cannot take out his rickshaw amid the current strict lockdown. The helpless father has sought everyone’s help to save his ailing child. “If the affluent people of the society come forward, I will be able to save Jannat and see his smiling face again,” he said.

People willing to stand by this helpless family have been requested to contact them over the phone at 01320541103.

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