In a shocking display of apathy, a 14-year-old boy diagnosed with full-blown Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was forced to move between four state-run hospitals in Hyderabad in the span of just 24 hours.
The boy diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection with the CD4 count of 160, was undergoing treatment for the last two weeks in NIMS Hospital. The boy has no one to look after him, apart from his grandmother. While his mother died in 2009 from an undiagnosed disease, his father died in 2011 in a road accident.
Shuttling from one place to another
The boy, a resident of Borabanda and a Class 7 student, started experiencing problems on Monday evening at 6.30 pm. He was having complications including dementia. It is then that NIMS hospital referred him to Niloufer Hospital for Antiretroviral therapy (ART) because they didn’t have the facility for the treatment.
However, on reaching Niloufer hospital, the authorities denied admission to the boy saying they do not take children above 12 years. The hospital told the boy’s grandmother to approach Osmania General Hospital (OGH).
The boy and his grandmother rushed to the OGH without wasting time. They reached the hospital at 8.30 pm. However, the staff at OGH refused to take the patient beyond casualty ward as it was night and asked for hefty bribes to move the patient in a wheelchair. Some of them were also drunk.
In the end, the volunteers of an NGO, Helping Hand Foundation arranged for the overnight stay of the child and his grandmother on the corridors of the hospital. On Tuesday morning, doctors of the general medicine OPD refused to see the boy and referred him to the ART centre.
But the ART centre, too, refused him treatment. The doctors here told him to go to the state-run Chest Hospital at Erragadda. After reaching the Chest Hospital at 1 pm on Tuesday, the doctors there referred him to go to the OGH again for a liver function test (LFT) besides getting an expert opinion from a gastroenterologist before initiating treatment.
NHRC took cognizance
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to Telangana government taking suo moto cognizance of the plight of the 14-year-old. The NHRC has sought for a report from the chief secretary of Telangana within six weeks time.
The Commission has observed that the story indicates the lack of infrastructure and coordination among different government run health care centres. The boy, who could be under trauma being an AIDS patient and his elderly grandmother have suffered due to the callous and insensible attitude of the hospitals. Instead of initiating treatment of the patient, they made them run from one hospital to the other in the name of jurisdiction and non-availability of the different facilities.
The Logical Indian is appalled by the state of hospitals in a metropolitan like Hyderabad. Over the past few months, many such stories of staff apathy and lack of infrastructure have come to light. It is sad that people who come with all the hope to the hospitals to get treatment are treated like this. The government should concentrate on how healthcare facilities be improved in the country so that such incidents don’t happen.