In the 25 years since it has been running across the country, this is a first for the Lifeline Express. A patient suffering from an advanced stage of oral cancer went through a surgery in the mobile hospital on Christmas Eve, according to The Indian Express, only a couple days after he was first examined by the doctors there.
52-year-old Hiralal Lodhi, who lives in a village in Madhya Pradesh, is a tea-seller who earns ₹700 a month. For the last two years he’s had a tumour in his mouth that has grown sizeably to make his jaws and cheeks appear bloated. After a series of visits to doctors in hospitals and spending about ₹20,000 on treatments, he was asked to pay up additional sums of money for surgery. Although Lodhi owns some land, he doesn’t make a living from it, so he had nearly given up hope until he was informed by a neighbour about Lifeline Express.
A project initiated in 1991, this mobile hospital on railway tracks first set out from the Victoria Terminus in Mumbai to travel to remote parts of rural India with a team of volunteer doctors. A collaboration between Indian Railways, Impact India Foundation and Tata Memorial Hospital, it is aimed at giving citizens in the so-called ‘mofussil’ areas access to decent healthcare services.