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Humanity?

An event happened with me a couple of days back which left me wondering about the levels to which value of human life has fallen in India. 


I, Somnath and Anoop were returning from a walk at about 8.30 PM last Saturday. Two people passed us riding on a bike - but when we were right in front of Hiranandani Hosptial, the person riding pillion suddenly started falling down. 

The other guy stopped the bike, some other passersby helped the pillion get down only to realise that he was undergoing an Epileptic Seizure. All passerby stopped and as usual started giving their suggestions - usko chamde ki chappal sunghao ... Pyaaz le ke aao (Give him a leather footwear to smell, find a onion). But no one was volunteering to even pick the poor guy lying on the road.

We feeling a little responsible, decided that the best course was to seek professional help and since we were right in front of HN hospital - we went in and informed the staff on duty about the incident. We were expecting a stretcher and a doctor to emerge and take the person to the hospital. Instead we saw a nurse, a compounder/administrator and a security guard walking towards the person to find out about the incident on their own.

In less than a minute, the trio started walking back to the Hospital almost fleeing the incident. On enquiry by us, they told us that - uska bhai aa raha hai (his brother is coming). When I asked if they would provide him a bed in the hospital ("meanwhile")  - they answered that this was for his brother to decide!!!

I was aghast - this is one of the finest hospitals of Mumbai, supposedly having very good emergency and non-emergency facilties and while a person falls sick right at their doorstep - they simply choose to ignore?? This when the incident in question is not an accident or has no other criminal connotation to it.

Just for the sake of Humanity, the hospital staff could have taken the person into the hospital, rather than let him lie on the road. People have become so insensivitve towards the value of human life in India that we probably can no more call ourselves a cultured civilization. 

The only way to prevent such cases happening is making laws which will hold hospitals responsible for ignoring such situations. Heavy fines should be imposed on hospitals and a regulator along with grieviance redressal mechanism needs to be set up. 

Thankfully, the Maharashtra State government made a small beginning in this direction today. As per a news report by HT, it has made mandatory for private hospitals in Mumbai to treat poor patients free of cost. 
Footenote:
A parallel thought which struck all 3 of us was - What if the person on the road was one of us?. It was then that it dawned upon us that for most of us peripatetic professionals, the phone numbers saved as "home" usually refer to our parents' phone numbers. I guess we should all save a number with the entry "..In Case of emergency" which refers to one of your closest friends/relatives in town who can attend to you in such a scenario.
Update:
Hemant pointed out in comments the SUPREME COURT ruling that all injured persons have to be offered first aid, stabilization. It is only after that the hospital can demand payment or ask for police formalities. This ruling was passed by Supreme Court on 23/Feb/2007 adn ciculated by LIC. 
Here is a scan of the LIC circular (Click to enlarge):

1 Comments to " Humanity? "

  1. Such incidents happen inspite of the fact that The SUPREME COURT has ruled that all injured persons have to be offered first aid, stabilization. It is only after that the hospital can demand payment or ask for police formalities. This ruling was passed by Supreme Court on 23/Feb/2007 adn ciculated by LIC.

    Nikhil .. i am sending you the scan fo a communication from LIC stating the above. You can post it as an addition to this blog post.

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