They are the Capital’s living dead. Comatose, brains damaged by accidents and injury, these patients are left for dead at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences’ trauma centre by family and friends no longer willing to care for them.
The centre — set up to deal with accidents victims — gets as many as 200 such cases a day and of these, at least 20 need to be admitted. Some are discharged and go home with their families. Others aren’t so lucky and just lie there. The numbers of these unwanted patients swell with every passing day.
When Hindustan Times visited the centre last week, it found that at least two severely brain damaged people are left unclaimed every month. Currently, nine of them call the trauma centre home.
With limited facilities to treat accident victims, the centre too cannot afford to have these patients occupy its beds.
“Patients in coma who are not on ventilator support and can be fed manually are clinically fit to go home. Though they are in a vegetative state, they don’t require hospitalisation. Still, we keep them here as they have no home to go to,” said Dr Deepak Agrawal, assistant professor, neurosurgery, at the centre.
Many of these patients have been taken to a home run by a social welfare group — Sapna — in Alwar, Rajasthan. The home volunteered to take them in but doctors at AIIMS say that though this arrangement has come as a relief, it is far from an ideal solution. They point out that the home lacks the rehabilitation facilities such patients need.
The greatest tragedy: the lucky ones who show signs of recovery and regain some of their faculties remain abandoned and homeless.