Sikkim and Manipal hospital - Trials and Tribulations

Sikkim and Manipal hospital -  Trials and Tribulations

Life is the most precious of Gods creation . Death is irreversible. 

The recent events of loss of lives in Manipal hospital are no doubt unfortunate and very disturbing . It would be in the interest of Manipal hospital to have the matter enquired into by an independent health experts including Doctors from Health deptt. GOS. An autopsy from a government hospital [New STNM] revealing the cause of death would help to clear doubts  and put an end to speculations . The findings could also help the members of the bereaved family to come to terms and put a closure to their loss and grief to some extent, as nothing in this world can compensate for loss of human life. 

Having said so, I would however like to add and remind fellow Sikkimese that Sikkim Manipal hospital and the Manipal Medical University is one the most valuable assets of Sikkim. Perhaps it is more valuable than all the Hydro Power Projects and tourist infrastructure built in Sikkim. In this age of digital media we need to be cautious while airing our views on such sensitive matters. Every Tom, Dick and Harry cannot have knowledge and expertise.  Airing your views on a readily available digital platform could do more harm than good. This is also not an occasion for publicity. 

The government  also needs to handle this matter in a matured way. With a large and experienced bureaucracy and Medical experts at its command, they could have easily deputed a team of experts to enquire into the incident and get a preliminary report. It is not for the political appointees, politicians, self proclaimed social activist, activist addicted to holding press conference on social media and private commentators to virtually enquire into the matter and hold Manipal hospital guilty. Please remember you cannot don the role of a complainant, an Inquiry Officer, Prosecutor and a Judge at the same time. Freedom of speech does not include the right to tarnish the image and defame an institution or an organisation. Summoning the Vice Chancellor for a meeting and grilling him openly in front of the media and public is also not in good taste and reflects our lack of experience in dealing with such matters. It is the responsibility of the administrators to ensure that such meetings are held in a dignified manner and besides the political heads, government is also represented by personnel having knowledge and expertise in that field. 

Manipal at the national and global level have a good reputation. It is one of the leading organisations in the field of health care and medical education.  It is the right time for them to introspect and take corrective measures. If necessary they should take help and guidance from their parent organisation. They should remember that, however big or reputed, they are answerable to the people and their patients. 

We must also remember that,  this is not the first of such incident that has occurred in a hospital in India . Unfortunately, this time it has happened in our own Manipal. There is no doubt that such incidents need to be avoided. However, we should not forget that many have been treated and cured in the same hospital. We must also evaluate our own government health infrastructure and medical facilities. We have a thousand bedded hospital but not enough medical staff and personnel to manage it. Some have questioned whether, such a huge construction of 1000 beds instead of 500, was ‘contract oriented’‚ rather then the actual requirement . 

Whatever may be the correct facts, in the past many from Sikkim have been compelled to go down to Siliguri for simple medical treatment such as child birth, removal of gall stones etc. I know quite a few from the medical fraternity who have gone down to Siliguri for child birth. With  establishment of Manipal this has changed to a huge extent. Many now prefer to get treated in their home town at Manipal. Many now  prefer Manipal to government hospitals. Unlike government hospitals they have a system in place. The facilities are good. The hospital is much cleaner than our new government hospital. This is only a comparative observation and not to undermine our government hospitals. Therefore, let us be rational and mature in our approach.  Many of our future generations will have the opportunity of pursuing their medical degree from this same Manipal university.  Like wise, many sick will be provided medical treatment and cured. Let us not kill our ‚ ‘Golden  Goose’ simply because some of the eggs out of  thousands have turned out to be bad. We must exercise restraint and wait for the competent authorities to complete their enquiry. Such report must be made available to the public. Let us not jump to conclusions and damage the reputation of our own institution. 

Let truth prevail - Satyameva jayate!

By J. B. Pradhan. He is a Senior Advocate practising in Gangtok.