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Sons abandon 80-year-old in hospital for 3 months

For the past three months, 80-year-old Maya Ramani has been languishing at the civic-run V N Desai Hospital in Santacruz (East) as none of her two sons have showed up to take her back home.

Maya Ramani
Victim of neglect: Maya Ramani at civic-run V N Desai Hospital in Santacruz (East)

Ramani along with her caretaker and the hospital staff accused her sons of disowning her. The hospital staff said Ramani was admitted some three months ago and underwent a minor surgery on her left hand and was discharged after a fortnight. Despite repeated attempts made by them and the police officials, none of her sons turned up to take their mother home.

At present, a private caretaker named Shobha Muliya, who was hired by her sons when they had admitted her to the hospital, is looking after Ramani in the hospital.

Ramani said she has five children — three sons and two daughters. She said both her daughters were married long ago and one of the sons is mentally challenged. She accused her other two sons Narendra and Umesh, whom she said were financially sound, of neglecting her.

The 80-year-old said she had spent the last four years at an old age home near Virar, where she injured her left hand that required a minor surgery. She said the old age home officials sent her home as her sons had failed to pay the institution.

Ramani said just after four days at their residence, she was shifted to Bhabha Hospital in Bandra for treatment. The 80-year-old said none of her sons visited her at the hospital. She said some three months ago she was shifted to the V N Desai hospital, where her sons hired Muliya.

Muliya alleged that for the last two months, none of Ramani’s family members visited or called her. She even accused Ramani’s son of not paying her Rs 6,000.

Muliya said she had grown fond of Ramani and was looking after her.

“Whatever she needs, irrespective of time, I provide her with. At times my husband comes to the hospital and looks after her,” said Muliya.

Ramani said Muliya was looking after her very well. “I don’t even have money to buy a cup of tea, but Shobha buys it for me,” said Ramani.

The octogenarian said a few years ago she had started begging near Mahim Durgah so that she could eat. Fortunately, a few good Samaritans took her back to her residence.

Medical social worker (MSW) Nishigandha Bhandare, who works at the V N Desai Hospital said, “Ramani is fit to be discharged. We are afraid that she will catch some disease in the hospital. We are trying to bridge the communication gap between Ramani and her sons, but to no avail. We are afraid that even if they take her home, she won’t be treated well.”

Sources from the Vakola police station, which the hospital staff and the MSW sought help from, said it could be a case wherein Ramani must be having property in her name and others were eyeing it.

When contacted, both Narendra and Umesh said they did not want their mother back.

“We will take her home for a few days, but after that we’ll shift her to an old age home in Badlapur. We don’t have enough money to look after her,” said Umesh. “Our mother doesn’t have any property in her name. Prior to his death, our father transferred the entire property in our names. He had divorced her.”

When Ramani was informed that her sons were planning to send her to another old age home, she said, “I don’t want to go to an old age home again. Please tell my sons and explain to them that I am very old now. I will stay in some corner with Shobha. I want nothing else.” 

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