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   Getting admitted to a hospital is not an easy matter any more... (February 15, 1996)

Getting admitted to a hospital is not an easy matter any more. My neighbour was seriously ill, the doctor was called in the middle of the night, and he ordered that he be admitted to a hospital immediately.

An ambulance was summoned and he was driven to the hospital. The superintendent eyed my neighbour suspiciously. "He does not look like a criminal," he said. "Where are his dark glasses."

"He is not a criminal, he is sick," I said.

"He is Sikh!" said the superintendent,"

"No, not Sikh, sick," I said. "Please, would you admit him immediately so that his treatment can start.

"Has the court ordered that he should be admitted to hospital? You know I can't admit him without seeing the court's orders."

"What court," I said. "His doctor has said he requires urgent hospitalisation. "Is that not enough?"

"Doctors may say anything, we can't go by that. These days, it is easy to get a doctor's certificate, money can buy anything. I must have the court's order," the superintendent said.

"If you must, you must," I said. "I do not wish to question the hospital's authority. I will get you the court's orders tomorrow, when it opens. But, meanwhile, can you admit him tonight."

"Not tonight," the superintendent said. "He will have to spend tonight in prison."

"Why should he spend the night in prison! He is not a criminal, he is respected member of the society." I said.

"That is what they all say," the superintendent said. "Former ministers, loyal servants of the Gandhis and present supporters of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. Hospitals, fortunatel or unfortunately, have to go by rules. In any case, how has be heen brought here in an ambulance, he should have been brought in a police van, smiling triuphantly and waving at the crowds, not half dead."

"I really do not undersand you," I said. "The man is half dead, by tomorrow it may be too late, and you are talking of court orders and criminals."

"If he is not a criminal, then he has no business to be here," the superintendent said. "Are you his lawyer? Then, tell me, is your client a politician with underworld connections."

"I am not his lawyer, I am his neighbour," I said.

"If you are not his lawyer, then why are you arguing his case and wasting thhe hospital's time. This is a busy time for us, more and more politicians with underworld connections are being brought in every day."

"Then what happen to my friend here," I said. "Just because he is not a criminal, should he be refused admission to hospital and die!"

"Not at all," said the superintendent. "You can always get him admitted into a prison."

 
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