Saturday, April 25, 2009

Left For Dead

I have written quite a bit on this blog on the state of education in America from my vantage point as a elementary schooler's mother. While fretting over the lack focus on academics, I have neglected to notice all that I take for granted. The teacher's I have known are unfailingly attentive to a child's physical well-being and will alert the parent promptly should something go even slightly wrong.

Reeti Roy in her first guest post for my blog, writes about two student deaths - one in an Indian school and another in a reputed Engineering institute, resulting from criminally negligent teachers.

Seventeen year old Aakriti Bhatia’s parents are devastated. The Class XII Student of Modern School, Vasant Vihar, Delhi died of an asthma attack on the 22nd of April, 2009. Even though the parents, friends and relatives of Aakriti say that Aakriti could have been saved had it not been for the school’s negligence, the school stands its ground saying that it did all it could. At around ten A.M, Aakriti complained of breathlessness but by the time she reached the hospital, it was too late.

The doctors declared her dead upon arrival and added that she could have been saved had she been brought in earlier. The parents of Akriti Bhatia want the Principal, Goldy Malhotra to resign with immediate effect. Bhatia’s father has gone on to say on record that he will go to the President of India if he has to. Even though he has lost a daughter, he does not want others to suffer the same plight.

Exactly a month ago, on March 22nd 2009, a 21 year old boy from IIT Kharagpur died after he fell off a rickshaw. This threw light on the fact that the campus was ill-equipped and medical facilities were not easily and readily available.

Rohit Kumar, an engineering student, was heading back to his hostel when he fell off from the rickshaw near the hostel gate and complained of pain. He went to B.C Roy technology hospital and he was kept under observation for three hours but Rohit’s friends claim that that the doctors did nothing. His friends tried to take him to the nearest hospital possible but Rohit started vomiting blood. Rohit was declared dead upon arrival at Midnapore Medical College.

The two incidents are uncannily similar. Isn’t it time for some hard questions to be asked? These are not isolated cases. And here, I am only talking about the urban elite. Both Modern School and IIT are top notch institutions. If they can guarantee academic excellence why can they not look after their wards? Despite having the funds, what were these institutions doing? If this is the plight of the so-called "elite" schools, what is happening in the "not-so-elite" schools?

In Aakriti’s case, the school authorities said that there had been a nebulizer and they showed the media a nebulizer. However, according to a student of Modern School, the oxygen was cut off when Aakriti was gasping for help out of desperation and breathlessness.

In case of Rohit, it was his friends to took the initiative of rushing him to the hospital. He was supposed to be taken to the Calcutta Hospital but because he started vomiting blood, he was taken to the Midnapore Hospital.

“ The Medical Facilities in case of an emergency situation is horrible. It is almost zilch. Many people do not go to B.C Roy when they fall ill. I personally had quite a bad experience in my first year. I had an upset stomach as a result of which I lost body fluids.They called an Ambulance and took me to the hospital. And the hospital treated me for high blood pressure, while I was on the verge of fainting. While I would not directly blame the college authorities, I think that since they are the ones who have the funds, they should be held responsible for the lack of facilities,” a source said.

This paints a really bleak picture of what can happen to students if they fall sick. One can only hope that these two horrific incidents will make the authorities wake up and take charge. Only, if they were more careful, such incidents could have been easily avoided.

(Sources: The Telegraph, http://www.oneindia.in/ )

Reeti Roy is a twenty year old student studying English Literature at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. She can be reached at reeti.roy@gmail.com and at her blog.

1 comment:

Vikas Gupta said...

A lot of students in recent times have been murdered in India thanks to the said negligence and ragging! :(

My university JNU has a very average Health Centre (with two chief Medical Officers who have very little medical knowledge!); thankfully however AIIMS is located nearby (but even AIIMS and Safadarjung are poorly managed!).

My schools (DAV, the best in the city) hardly had any medical facilities! Life is so cheap in our country!

The maiden post by Reeti is a thoughtful one.