In Pics: Outstation patients at AIIMS face long, dreary nights

With thousands seeking treatment at AIIMS in New Delhi, large numbers find themselves spending more time on the streets instead of the hospital.

india Updated: Jul 06, 2017 16:37 IST
Vansh Virmani
Vansh Virmani
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
aiims,All India Institute of Medical Sciences,delhi
(Vansh Virmani / HT Photo)

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi sees a daily influx of outstation patients and their accompanying relatives. Those making arduous journeys from far flung regions to the National capital come for the medical repute AIIMS holds and its comparative economic viability. This throng of patients in waiting brings with it the problem of accommodation for those that face delays in admittance to the hospital.

Despite the creation of a 120-bed night shelter in 2015, to alleviate the stress on the two existing 100-bed and 450-bed shelters for these patients in waiting, the sight of countless ailing people, their relatives and belongings in tow is one that remains unchanged.

Vansh Virmani / HT Photo ( )

“We are not asking for frills, we just want a shed above our heads to sleep the night”, said S Kumar from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh who came to AIIMS having heard of the quality of medical treatment from his relatives.

Unable to find shelter in these facilities those left to fend against the elements resort to sleeping outside the hospital’s eponymous metro station or on the pavements around the hospital.

With the monsoon putting vector-borne diseases such as malaria and chikungunya at a rise, the lack of adequate shelter is an added risk to the crowds out in the open at a time when nearly 100 cases of dengue have already been recorded in Delhi according to the health ministry.

Vansh Virmani / HT Photo ( )

“Despite many beds free and available inside, we have to sleep out on the roads. We cannot afford the hotels nearby”, Kumar added.

Another concern raised by one of the patients taking shelter in the open is the risk to personal belongings, often including medical reports, money and personal effects packed in light of the significant journey many patients and families make.

Vansh Virmani / HT Photo

The daily hustle for attention in the hospital is aggravated by having to haul around their luggage and the night comes with the risk of theft and loss of personal belongings.

Although the existing shelters claim amenities such as washrooms, beds with linen and breakfast, those spending their nights in the open face a lack of washrooms to relieve themselves at night.

Vansh Virmani / HT Photo

“Night shelters are run by mafias who ask people for money to stay the night. They ask us to pay 150 rupees and for an ID proof to stay in the night shelter, but there are no such rules”, says Yogesh from Mathura who suffers from blood cancer and has been sleeping outside the metro station for the past three weeks.

Vansh Virmani / HT Photo

A lot of beggars, who aren’t patients with AIIMS, also come and sleep in a hope that someone would come distribute clothes and food.

The metro staff doesn’t mind people resting and sleeping inside the station but the menace created by drug addicts forces them to push out even the real patients once it’s time to pull down the shutters .

Vansh Virmani / HT Photo

“Last night, lower part of my body went numb. I didn’t have anyone around me to ask for help. I have been visiting the doctor every second day, and no medication is provided for free or even at subsidized cost”, says Mahesh who hails from Uttar Pradesh.

Vansh Virmani / HT Photo

“At night, things get a lot tougher when it rains and we have nowhere to go. My son has a high fever and hasn’t spoken anything since days. AIIMS staff refuses to admit him despite many beds being vacant”, said a mother of an eight year old, camping here having come from Madhya Pradesh.

First Published: Jul 06, 2017 08:24 IST