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Living in a public toilet, battling for life

With the wait at Aiims stretching into months, poor out-of-town patients take up residence in public toilets, subways and under flyovers, finds HT photographer Sushil Kumar.In pics: Apathy in Aiims

delhi Updated: Aug 03, 2011 07:53 IST
Hindustan Times
All India Institute of Medical Sciences,aiims,heart-valve replacement surgery

Every day 10,000 patients are treated and 323 surgeries conducted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Aiims), the biggest hospital in the country.

Yet, it's not enough to clear the backlog of the many thousands who wait patiently for their turn to get treated and cured. They come with their families and friends, taking up the daily footfall to 50,000.

With the wait for elective (non-emergency) surgery ranging from a few days to two years, those with money rent rooms or go back home, if the wait for surgery is too long.

Those with no money have no option but to live in subways, under flyovers, on pavements, under trees — and some in unused urinals.

45-year-old Ramrati has come all the way from Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh for a heart-valve replacement.

As she waits for a surgery date, the men's toilet outside Aiims has been her home for two weeks.

And Hem Kumari (25) who has blood cancer and an enlarged liver, is here with her husband Man Bahadur (30), from a village in Mahua district, Uttar Pradesh.

Leaving behind their two children — Neeraj (5) and Pranshi (2) — with their grandparents, the couple first camped under a tree outside the OPD before moving into the men's urinal two weeks ago.

"It's better than living under a tree," says Kumari, "at least, we have four walls around us.”

First Published: Aug 03, 2011 00:17 IST