Inhumane treatments to patients : what happened to the Hippocratic Oath ?

editorial-3rdEditorial – September Edition of Health Spectrum

India may be a land of diversities, but no doubt, India is a land of disparities. This is true in Health Sector too. On one side there are five star hospitals with ultra modern facilities for rich patients but on other side poor patients are dying because of simple illness which can be treated by ORS solution. In some hospitals patients are given costly and luxurious treatment and facilities but in some hospitals they are being treated like animals.
Some day back two incidents stirred the national consciousness. In one of the country’s poorest districts in Odisha, a man walked 10 km with his wife’s body on his shoulder, his weeping 12-year-old daughter by his side. Dana Majhi had no vehicle to take home his wife’s body after she died of tuberculosis at a government hospital in Kalahandi, about 60 km from his village. He pleaded for a vehicle, but he was denied. So he wrapped his 42-year-old wife Amang Dei’s body in a sheet, hoisted it on his shoulder and began to walk home. His daughter walked by his side, holding a bag with their meagre belongings, weeping. It is also a shame for a nation that a person has to die not because of cancer, heart attack or failure of any vital organ but because of TB, a scourge being vainly tackled by us for decades. In another incident, a man lost his son on his shoulders as hospitals denied medical help in Kanpur. This man has to carry his ill son on his shoulders from hospital to hospital in Kanpur as they denied providing “medical facilities” to his son.
These incidents once again highlight poor medical care facilities and apathy of hospitals in India. These incidents have created an outrage across the country. The incidents reprersent not only the poor medical care facilities in our country, but also the declining compassion for fellow humans among citizens of the country. But unfortunately, these events are no exception. Every day and every where similar incidents happen, some got media attention but most of the incidents are ignored.
vinodHealth status of any country cannot be determined on the basis of facilities and treatments being provided to a few rich citizens but it is determined on the basis of facilities being provided to the poorest of the poor. And I am sorry to say, that on this basis our country fails to be called a healthy nation. However, in India there are general apathy towards persons in distress, be it in hospitals or on roads, which should be stopped if India wants to be called humane and civilized country. Those who are in providing health facilities, either doctors or administrators and staffs of any hospital or health centre, have added responsibility to provide at minimum primary health care but to show human approach to their patients either poor or rich.
With thanks,
Vinod Kumar

Vinod Kumar

Health Journalist & writer. Editor of monthly health magazine "Health Spectrum."

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