Inventor of ORS, Dilip Mahalanbis passes away


Dilip Mahalanbis, the Bengali doctor who initiated the widespread use of ORS in cholera or diarrhea, has passed away on Saturday night in a hospital along the bypass. The man who was involved in medical pursuits and various experimental applications was 87 years old.

He was suffering from age-related diseases for a long time. The doctor had advised him to be admitted to the hospital for the past few days. However, the news of his illness did not come to light. Many of those responsible for curing diseases did not even know the identity of the famous doctor whose contribution in the treatment of diseases like cholera-diarrhea is still being reaped by patients all over the world.

During the liberation war, this doctor played a key role behind the scenes in saving thousands of people affected by cholera at the Bangaon border. In fact, it was under him, the present form of ORS was administered by drink rather than intravenous saline water. Mahalanabis saved thousands of lives with salt-sugar-baking soda water, but the application of ORS was still not recognized by the World Medical Organization. The doctor worked with risk until it got recognition.

In 1958, he started his internship in the pediatric department after passing his medical degree from Calcutta Medical College Hospital. The opening of the National Health Service in London in the 1960s created a huge demand for doctors and he got the chance to apply. After that he did DCH in London, MRCPO from Edinburgh. Later, this Bengali doctor joined the post of registrar at Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children when he was only 28. He was also the first Indian in that position.

After that, he joined Johns Hopkins University in America as a medical care fellow. At that time, there was an international center of the organization at Beleghatar ID Hospital. Cholera patients were treated there. He joined there in 1964 after returning to the country and begun research work on ORS and Special Metabolic Studies. Despite the success, the research paper was not published. Then incident of 1971 occurred.

After the liberation war, millions of uprooted people came and took shelter in temporary camps in Bengal. Cholera suddenly hit all those camps. Gradually it took the shape of an epidemic. Mahalanabis reached there accompanied by a few people and began treatingpatients. Success came after two months of tireless work when the victims started to recover.

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