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Dr Rudredeva Sharma

RADHICA DE SILVA

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Its been a tough year for relatives of Dr Rudradeva Sharma, the young doctor who died in a vehicular crash hours after being kidnapped and robbed last year.

January 15 marked one year since the incident occurred. On Tuesday, the family held a prayer session in his honour.

On January 15, last year after leaving work he and another doctor Prem Naidoo were robbed and kidnapped. While heading on the highway, they lost control of the vehicle which crashed. Naidoo and two of the kidnappers survived but Rudradeva and another kidnapper died on impact.

Speaking with Guardian Media, his sister Meenakshi Sharma said the family has been coping with Rudradeva’s tragic demise by continuing charitable work in his name.

She said her brother worked in the HIV ward at the San Fernando General Hospital for 10 years and often would dip into his pockets to help his patients buy food and medicine.

“My brother was my hero and following in his footsteps by supporting his various charities has been rewarding and fulfilling this past year,” Sharma said.

She added, “We have been visiting his HIV patients and we feel heartened to hear how they speak of him. He was always one to help any and everyone. He counselled patients and helped them many of whom were abandoned by family and friends because they had HIV.”

She explained that her brother was also involved in hamper distribution and feeding the homeless. All of these pursuits were done in Rudradeva’s honour, both to mark his birthday and his death anniversary.

Had he lived to see the COVID-19 pandemic, Sharma believes Rudradeva would have given even more of his time at the hospital.

“Working with HIV is not the easiest thing to do especially at the San Fernando General Hospital. My brother was courageous to put his life at risk to help others. That is testimony to the courage, inner strength and character that he had. If he was required to work, he would have done his best,” she said.

“To this day, his family has received an outpouring of love from vendors and needy families whom he reached out to help. His devoted efforts were to extend kindness and positivity in a world that is in dire need of healing,” Sharma said.

Sharma said at the hospital, pharmaceuticals always ran low and he would not hesitate to use personal funds to buy supplies and medicine. Because he lived at his parent’s home and did not have many expenses, he was always willing to share his earnings.

“He would risk his life to save another yet remain in the background with no expectation of recognition or reward. This is what made his stand out,” she added.

Meanwhile, Rudradeva’s uncle and former minister Chandresh Sharma said the death of the young doctor was a loss to T&T.

“Rudra was always working in the hospital. Whenever we had family functions he would always be the last to arrive and the first to leave because of his work in the hospital. Many doctors chose not to work in the infectious disease department so that section was always short-staffed so many times he did double duty,” Sharma said.

Sharma said Rudradeva had a small circle of friends who were musicians. He played the guitar and in his spare time, he visited temples distributing religious books. He loved Bob Marley’s music and devoted time to assisting voluntarily in community clinics organised by his uncle.

Sharma, a national scholarship winner achieved his post-graduate diploma in the management t of HIV infection in August 2017 and Clinical Management of HIV in June 2019 from the University of the West Indies and the University of Washington respectively.