A sorrowful tale of the unwanted
Hers is the heartrending story of human apathy and she is the victim of inhuman treatment to destitute. She is Seetha Lakshmi, sick, penniless and on the breadline.
Medak/Sangareddy: Hers is the heartrending story of human apathy and she is the victim of inhuman treatment to destitute. She is Seetha Lakshmi, sick, penniless and on the breadline. While politicos and the power-that-be boast of their tireless efforts to uplift the poor and eliminate poverty, the ground reality is completely different.
Just a week ago, Seetha Lakshmi, mentally and physically ill, was discovered on the roads of Medak town by The Hans India in a miserable condition, unable to walk and literally crawling to cross the road along with an airbag containing soiled clothes. She hails from Saluru village in Vijayanagaram district in Andhra Pradesh.
Now in her forties, her parents and husband had passed away and her daughters Sai and Kumari cared little for her after getting married to lead their own lives. Her elder brother Gopichittuvari Shankar Rao boarded her on a train to get rid of her.
Seetha doesn’t remember how and when she ended-up in Medak town, but she was admitted to Medak Government Hospital by some good Samaritans who found her on the road. Hospital authorities say that she was treated in the hospital for three days and then someone who claimed to be her brother-in-law got her discharged. Nobody knows what happened later, but she was found on the road in a miserable condition with high fever and severe cough.
When The Hans India tried to admit her in Medak Government Hospital, the nurses didn’t even dare to come near Seetha. “The Superintendent warned me that he would fire me from my job if I let her into the hospital,” shouted a frustrated nurse, when Seetha was brought to the hospital. The DMO of the hospital said it was just regular fever and nothing serious. Situation was so hopeless that there was no further point in expecting anything from Medical and Health officials as it was also a Sunday.
The Hans India had decided to shift her to Sangareddy Government Hospital, where she could be treated at INSED, a home for destitute located on the premises of the hospital. Medak hospital couldn’t even arrange for an ambulance to shift her. If not for the timely help of Suresh and Ramu, supervisors of 108 Service in Sangareddy, Medak and Siddipet districts, it would have been difficult to shift Seetha on the night of January 22, when she was admitted to INSED.
A couple of days later, one night, Manohar, Director of INSED, woke up to the cries of Seetha. She was in tears and crying in pain. It was found that Seetha had a big wound in her head (two inches deep and three inches wide in diameter). Maggots were coming out of her head and ears after eating through her flesh.
As The Hans India brought this to the notice of G Gayatri, District Medical and Health Officer, she immediately asked the doctors in the hospital to examine her and remove the worms. Many worms were removed and many maggots were still inside her head. ENT specialist at Sangareddy Government Hospital who examined her on Monday, subscribed glycerine oil to be used to remove maggots from her head and said recovery could take longer time. He asked the INSED volunteers to bring her to him every alternate day till she fully recovered.
Seetha’s case is yet another blot in the face of a society where well-paid government doctors and nurses use the excuse of absence of attendants for not treating destitute and orphans. “We thank the Sangareddy Medical and Health officials for timely support. But the eighty-odd destitute who are living in our facility need regular medical check-ups. It would be great if the doctors could take care of them,” said Manohar, Director of INSED.
At least in Sangareddy there is one NGO like INSED which is taking care of mentally-ill destitute, but in Medak there is none.
As per World Health Organization, government hospitals in every district must have at least ten beds to serve the destitute, but it is not being implemented anywhere. These destitute, most of whom are senior citizens deserted by their children, don’t get pensions and even if they get it, won’t be able to spend wisely, as they are mentally-ill.
By Vivek Bhoomi