How Radio Was Used To Reunite Alzheimer's Patient With Family In Kolkata

The 76-year-old patient was only 14 km away in a government hospital in the city.

How Radio Was Used To Reunite Alzheimer's Patient With Family In Kolkata

The man's family thanked the Good Samaritans who helped him.


A 76-year-old Alzheimer's disease patient who went missing from his south Kolkata home has reunited with his family after three months, thanks to the joint efforts of several Good Samaritans.

All the while, he was only around 14 km away in a government hospital in Salt Lake.

Surajit Mukherjee who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease - a brain condition that causes a gradual decline in memory, thinking, learning and organising skills - had stepped out of his home in Ballygunge on September 1 but did not return.

His relatives lodged a missing diary with the police the next day but got no information about him.

In the meantime, Mukherjee somehow reached Salt Lake where he was spotted on a road in BD block by Sharmila Majumdar, a former school teacher. He failed to reply to her queries properly.

Majumdar felt that the elderly man was hungry, and she fetched some home-cooked food and water from her house. She and her neighbours Amitava Saha and Bikram Sharma then contacted the local councillor who in turn informed the police.

The police admitted him to the government hospital in the satellite township of Salt Lake, but no information about his family could be gathered for over two months.

"I got in touch with the West Bengal Radio Club on November 26 and the HAM radio operators traced the elderly man's details by the next day," Sharmila Majumdar told PTI.

Mukherjee's sister and her daughter were informed and they took him to their place in Bagmari on Tuesday after completing all hospital and police formalities.

Like Majumdar, a Sub-Inspector of Bidhannagar North Police Station, Provas Ghosh, who helped Mukherjee and his relatives was also happy that he could help a man in distress.

Mukherjee's niece, Paramita Chakraborty, said, "My maternal uncle was alone at home that day as my aunt was in a hospital after an accident. He is an Alzheimer's patient and forgets things. My aunt's brother was also not at home at that time for some work." She said that his relatives had circulated his photographs on social media and, with police permission, put up advertisements in a couple of newspapers in October but got no response.

"On Monday, a HAM radio operator called us and gave us the news that my maternal uncle was in a Salt Lake hospital," Chakraborty said.

Mukherjee had told the doctors that he was from Bagmari in North Kolkata. It was the place where he used to live in the past. Chakraborty and her mother currently stay near Mukherjee's past address in Bagmari.

"A HAM radio operator from Maniktala, Surajit Mondal, with the help of a tea stall owner in Bagmari, found out Mukherjee's old address and then we got in touch with his family," the secretary of West Bengal Radio Club, Ambarish Nag Biswas, said.

Biswas thanked all good Samaritans who came forward to help the old man.

"We are very happy that we could do the work very quickly and reunite the man with his family," he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)