Monday, March 23, 2009
Rohit Kumar will be remembered.
Rohit Kumar, a 3rd year student of IIT Kharagpur, fell from a rickshaw this morning, and had a head injury. The injury wasn't fatal and only required apt and urgent medical care. The very unfortunate events that took place then, have been now etched in the memory of every student of IIT Kharagpur in permanent ink. After about 4 hours from the incident of the injury, Rohit left us. He died an unimaginable death in unbearable pain. Something had killed him, and it wasn't the injury.
Rohit was taken straight to B C Roy Hospital, the campus medical facility in IIT Kharagpur, for treatment without any delay. B C Roy is the only hospital in the institute and Kharagpur doesn't really boast of any other hospital, being the village that it is. As Rohit reached the B C Roy Hospital, henceforth called only as B C Roy, it so happened that there was no doctor available at the moment. And in this respect, this moment was no different from any other moment. It is the norm. And so a doctor was rang and called, to attend to the medical emergency. The doctor arrived on the scene as soon as he could I'm sure, but still about 2 hours late. Through these two hours the injured student had been bleeding, as well as not being taken a good care of.
The doctor anyway did arrive and made his diagnosis, which was this - 'I can't do anything about this'. A neurosurgeon was required for treating the wound worsened badly by the delay. And it only just so happens that IIT Kharagpur provides for no neurosurgeons, or any other such specialists for that matter. And nor does it keep a list of them, or their contacts in case of an emergency. And hence the only option now is to take the terminally unfortunate student to Kolkata, as is always the case anyway. An ambulance was called promptly, atleast as promptly as B C Roy can be expected to, and then they waited. The injured student with the bleeding wound waited, as the ambulance too took its fair share of hours to promptly arrive on the scene.
Finally the ambulance does arrive, and isn't very different in spirit than the doctor who had arrived earlier. It too certainly looks its rightful ineptness, but there being no option, is anyway used for the purpose. The matter is now already very clearly of life and death. And given the pressing circumstances and the eagerness of the doctor to help his patient, you would expect him to not accompany the patient to the hospital in Kolkata and not take care of him along the way and not let his life be saved, which is exactly what he did. The patient was departed aboard a rickety ambulance van with two of his friends, a driver and a pharmacist, with an exceptionally weak gut, ample apathy, and 'I can't take any decisions' syndrome.
The rickety van rocks through the way and the patient, now in proximate fatal danger, rocks with it. His needled hands falling of the seat, his bleeding head lolling into the wall hitting it with every pothole on the road. His two friends in the backseat trying to keep him steady and comfortable, keeping him from falling off the seat, and the pharmacist trying to comfy his bum on the front seat alongside the driver. After about 10 minutes of being on the van, Rohit's friends discover that the oxygen mask that he's wearing, isn't really working. The oxygen cylinder is off and hadn't been turned on.
The oxygen mask was then turned on by the friends, not the pharmacist. After a little more of the journey, gory things begin to happen. Rohit spouts blood from his mouth into the mask. No one has a clue what to do now, and the doctor back in B C Roy is called up. The pharmacist, at this juncture, feels compelled to go into a shock of inaction, and the instructions given by the doctor on the phone are carried out by Rohit's own friends. It is then decided that Kolkata, being too far, cannot be afforded at this time. The patient is instead now to be taken to Midnapore. B C Roy Hospital is called up and asked to inform Spandan Hospital in Midnapore to arrange for the treatment and care of the incoming patient.
Against all humanity and compassion, Spandan had no such information and refused to admit the patient while Rohit's friends frantically tried to arrange for his treatment. Amidst this shrieking inhumanity, Rohit, then, took his last breath.
A life was lost.
And it wasn't due to the injury.