Left to Die! Does Anyone Care to Help ?

Left to Die! Does Anyone Care to Help?

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” – Mother Teresa

Mangaluru: St Mother Teresa helped the poor and the neglected by feeding and caring for the sick. She believed that it was God’s call for her to help the poor. How many of us follow in the footsteps of St Mother Teresa by showing concern or feel pity when a human being is found sleeping on the road or dies of hunger? Most of us turn a blind eye when we see such helpless people waiting to die on the streets. Here is an example of the same.

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On December 26, Mangalorean.com received a call from a social activist Alwyn saying that an elderly woman was sleeping under the tree in the Government Wenlock hospital premises, and seemed like her condition was deteriorating. Team Mangalorean immediately rushed to the spot and found the old woman. Our correspondent tried to contact the Wenlock hospital authorities but found that some of the staff were on leave, others were reluctant to answer the call or call back, and a few others were attending a meeting at the Zilla Panchayat.

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Our correspondent waited for more than half hour without any response from the authorities to shift the woman to the Casualty Ward. The PA to the health minister was informed about the pathetic state of the woman and also the negligence of the hospital authorities in transporting the woman to casualty. In the meantime, the social activist along with team mangalorean were doing their best to shift another woman who was lying unconscious near the Temple close to the Mangaluru Central Railway station- she was taken to the hospital by 108 Ambulance after waiting for an hour. But in the case of the woman who was lying right inside the Wenlock premises, she was neglected for about an hour even after the situation was made known to the hospital.

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Our correspondent met the duty doctor of the Casualty Ward at Wenlock and while inquiring, the doctor replied, “The woman was discharged in the morning and was handed over to the police to be taken to the home of the destitute at Pacchanady. If the police did not take her to Pacchanady, what are we supposed to do?”. Another nurse said, “Once a patient gets discharged, it is not our responsibility”. Seemed like these hospital staff did not want to take responsibility but when our correspondent alerted them that the matter has been discussed with the health minister’s PA, immediately the duty doctor “woke up” and got into action, directing the duty nurse to bring the woman inside. It is well known that whenever a minister visits the Wenlock Hospital, the hospital authorities keep the hospital and its surrounding clean to portray that it is a good hospital but the reality is quite different.

In our country, and especially in cities like Mangaluru, we have seen hospital bills amounting to thousands of Rupees even when you are admitted for a couple of days, which only the rich can afford. But what about the poor? Don’t they have the right to get good treatment? Our government brings various health schemes but who are the beneficiaries? Now with the doctor’s consultation charges being doubled, people who are poor are discouraged from visiting the doctor for early diagnosis and treatment of any disease. Earlier people used to treat doctors as miracle workers but all that has changed in recent years. There is an urgent need to form monitoring committees in hospitals, especially government owned so that the poor are treated with dignity.

It is a very old maxim that “Health is Wealth”. A healthy person can work with efficiency to earn wealth. Good health is a great asset. It is the most valuable treasure a man could have. With the rapid expansion of population and shortages of healthcare facilities in government hospitals, private hospitals in the society have been playing a vital role. Even though there are many government hospitals which are providing health services to the populace of the region, the services rendered is inadequate in terms of quantity and quality.

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One can find by looking his own way. That means, if you are ill, which hospital will you prefer to go??? Obviously private, it’s because we have lost our faith in Government Hospitals. They lack good infrastructure, proper management, dedicated staff and many other things.The attitude of employees is also worst in few hospitals. No service is provided in time, no staff is available at times. If we look at the government hospitals in terms of infrastructure and the 3M (Material, Manpower & Money supply) it is worst ever. Though the government supplies free medicines, there seems to be no interest among the hospital staff to store it in a proper manner. Few times medicines are found stored in unhygienic conditions.

But with no other choice poor people prefer Government Hospitals due to the free treatment provided. But Government hospitals are known for their lack of sanitation and basic infrastructure like beds, qualified doctors, sufficient medicines, inadequate quantity and quality of staff, underpaid and unhappy staff, etc. “People need to be healthy if they have to learn, earn and lead a productive and fulfilling life”. The pathetic condition of government hospitals is no surprise to anyone. Affordable but reliable healthcare is still an illusion in government hospitals. Do one-off the raids change these conditions??? Or, are they just an eyewash???

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Everyone has the right to lead a dignified life and be treated with dignity. In conclusion, patients should be treated with respect in hospitals- Treating people equally means that you treat them the same, regardless of their race, sex, social status, rich or poor or anything else like that. Treating people fairly means that you treat them in ways that are most appropriate to their needs. This may mean that you treat them differently than you treat others because they have different needs than others do.

A possible example of this (depending on your political point of view) would be affirmative action programs. Some of the govt. hospital programs do not treat people equally. Instead, they give preferences to others. One can argue that these programs treat people fairly because they give benefits to those who have been affected by past discrimination. If you accept this reasoning, this is a case of treating people fairly without treating them equally. If you do not accept this reasoning, it is still an attempt to treat people fairly, but one which fails to treat them either fairly or equally. This is the time of the hour–Government Wenlock Hospital needs an extreme make-over-from infrastructure to providing medical facilities and treatment to everyone whether you are rich or Poor. Period!

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2 Comments

  1. Dear Violet, thank you for enlighting a subject to grave and
    so human.

    But believe me, although Alfie and you show so much concern
    for all the deficiencies in Karnataka, and in particular, Mangalore,
    nothing is ever going to change – as the mindset of most
    Indians is: I, Me, and Myself, and the Administration of all authorities,
    be it Police, Municipality, Public Works, or MESCOM – work on the
    same principles – Shine only whilst the CM or an MP or even a
    MLA is on the prowl or a visit.

    One can find so many old citizens, sick and discarded, and drunkards
    on the streets of Udupi and Mangalore, irrespective from which state
    they migrate from. But who cares?

    The civil law is entrusted to the Police Dept., and I believe it is solely
    their duty to check on old citizens, sick and discarded, and drunkards
    found on the streets, and take action. But most of the people who work for
    the Police Dept. have also the same attitude: Uniform, Power, and Money
    – for doing nothing – or for giving security only for the CM, MP, or MLA.

  2. Dear Violet, thank you for this eye opening article. I was very much moved…I simply cried. I salute you and the team manglorean for your noble task of helping this poor old lady in true Christmas spirit.
    God bless.
    Thilu Bhargava
    Canada

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