For 16 agonising hours starting from Wednesday night, Krishna was shunted from one hospital to hospital. No doctor wanted to touch him even as his blood pressure was shooting up due to renal failure. Reason: he is HIV-positive.
At first, Krishna, a Naz Foundation of India (NFI) employee, was rushed to Mayo Hospital in Gomti Nagar, then to Nova Hospital and thereafter to Sewa Hospital for dialysis. He was refused help at all three hospitals. Next, at King George’s Medical College, the dialysis machine was not working.
Finally, his family and friends managed to take him to the SGPGI hospital at 2 a.m. Initially, the staff said they would admit him but developed cold feet as soon as they heard the ‘H’ word. Thereafter, the staff started coming up with excuses and refused to admit the patient. After being told about the medical protocols and medico-legal rights, the authorities were forced to admit Krishna. But they kept him in the emergency ward and failed to provide him with the appropriate treatment till 7.30 a.m.
Meanwhile, NFI chief Arif Jafar managed to inform Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society project director S.P. Goyal about Krishna’s plight. Goyal, in turn, spoke to SGPGI director A.K. Mahapatra and got an assurance from him that the patient would be treated. But even then, Krishna was wheeled into the operation theatre for dialysis only at 3 p.m. on Thursday.
Jafar shudders to think of what an “ordinary” HIV-positive patient who knows no doctor or higher authority in the medical fraternity would have to go through to get life-saving treatment.
“Forget a common man, even the medical fraternity is not sensitive toward the plight of HIV-positive people,” says Naresh Yadav of UP Positive People’s Network, an NGO.
The United Nations General Assembly held a special session on HIV and AIDS five years ago and thereafter, a declaration to make a specific commitment to reducing the social stigma associated with HIV/AIDS was adopted. Despite this, many HIV-positive people still experience some of the worst discrimination.
And for every Krishna who gets reported, there are numerous other cases that go unnoticed.
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