Carelessness and Negligence

Carelessness and Negligence

Life-supporting ventilators which are supposed to save children are turning deadly for them. A latest study by Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar has revealed that Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP) has killed nearly 22 newborn babies at GB Pant Children Hospital during 18 months between October 2016 and April 2018. According to the said study, these child deaths mark a significant increase in Kashmir due to VAP as kids admitted in the Paediatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs) acquire bacterial infection at hospital. This development is as alarming as can be and must be stopped the soonest. But, before delineating the nature of the problem and its possible antidote, a broader point about life and the institutional structures like hospitals needs to be made. Life is a sacred gift from Allah and it is ultimately He Who gives and takes it. Because life is in the nature of a gift from the Almighty, it must be held and treated as a sacred trust, especially when it is in its incipient stages. That is, when children are born and because of their tender vulnerability need utmost , delicate care. But, alas, the converse, in many instances, seems to be happening in Kashmir where the tender young babies are not accorded the diligent and delicate care they need. This care, it may be pointed out, is provided to some extent in private hospitals which the wealthy or the better off segments of society can afford. But, most people in Kashmir are not wealthy. It is then the poorer segments of society that bear the burden of lack of care and negligence. There needs to be a corrective to this abysmal condition. The question is how? The answer lies , first and foremost, in the duty of care that doctors, medics and paramedics owe to the newborns and their families. Once and when they understand their duty and obligation and develop the concomitant sense of ethics and responsibility, many layers of the issue can go away. But, this is not enough. This orientation and approach needs to be complemented by accountability and streamlined procedures and processes wherein the newborns are afforded the care and environment they need for their survival and succor. The nature of this accountability must lie, in the main, toward society and the conscience of medics and paramedics. In terms of procedures , process and systems, obviously, there pertain general administration. Life, to repeat, is a gift from the Almighty and it needs to be treated as such. There can and should be no ifs and buts about this. Let the process begin now!