mid day editorial: Hospitals ought to save lives, not end them

Published: Jan 29, 2018, 06:50 IST | mid-day online correspondent

Mumbai's hospitals have gone from being safe havens to death traps - whether one is a patient or perfectly healthy relative, no one is saf

Mumbai's hospitals have gone from being safe havens to death traps — whether one is a patient or perfectly healthy relative, no one is safe. A 32-year-old lost his life on Saturday evening after he was sucked into Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine at Nair Hospital. The deceased was visiting an ailing relative in the hospital, when a ward boy told him to carry an oxygen cylinder with him to the MRI room. The MRI machine should have been switched off, but was still operating, and its magnetic force caused fatal injuries to the victim. He died within minutes.

This story is horrific and hugely tragic. It is one of those cautionary tales that make your hair stand on end. A hospital staffer cannot and should not make a visitor carry any metal into an MRI room. Visitors should not, in fact, be made to carry any equipment at all. Why didn't the technician or other attendants outside the MRI room stop the man from taking the cylinder in? It is unthinkable that hospital staffers were either missing or not trained to spot this basic hazard. There have to be some answers to these questions. It is not enough to simply initiate a probe into the matter if we never hear of the findings.

Every medical facility has to learn lessons from this incident, and learn them well. Arrests and police action is one thing, the takeaways from this tragedy are hugely important. This must rank as one of the darkest days for this iconic government-run hospital. Blame games are set to begin. What is important, though, is that these horrendous lapses must never, ever recur. Too heart wrenching for words, this incident must remain as a warning in our minds, so that such massive negligence is not repeated.

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