A real life incident from my days of internship. Probably an incident which made me realize in depth, the male-female child discrimination than any other.
My first posting was in the department of pediatric surgery under Dr.Ravindran for a period of 15 days. From the start of my posting, there was a 12-year old female child who had been admitted for quite some time. She was a very frail looking child with the skin wrapped around nothing but bones. I came to know that she had been diagnosed with Tuberculosis with almost no function in one lung due to extensive infection. She had already been transfused 4-5 units of blood, though the parents had not even paid for one. But my professor was kind enough to sometimes pay from his pocket apart from 1 or 2 free units made free by the hospital. During my 15 days of stay, i saw the father only once and the mother, though she came daily, hardly stayed for a few hours.
The child was the first child for the parents with 4 more female children and one male child who was the last born. Their financial status was somewhere near or even below the poverty line. The reason for six children being the obvious and elusive 6th male child.
This first child,who was at the hospital, would evoke sympathy on first sight even from a third person or a stranger, with tubes coming out of her chest constantly draining the pus and blood from her lungs. She had to defecate and urinate by the bedside itself and also, on account of her advanced disease, was kept in isolation with no one to even talk to. She was so much neglected by her parents that when her mother came to visit her after failing to show up the day before, she told me “enga ammava naan paaka virumbula.velila anupunga sir” (i don’t wish to see my mother.Please send her out). Those words were really heavy. To hear them come out of a 12-year old child made me realize the amount of sadness that must have filled her heart with all the solitude she was experiencing, instead of playing around with kids her age.
She was posted for surgery to remove one of the lobes of the lung which had been affected extensively. On the operation table, my professor found out that a simple lobectomy was not going to be enough. So he removed one whole lung. Sadly, the infection had already affected the other lung also quite extensively though not like the removed lung. But still there was no signs of her father showing up.
One day, the dad finally decided to show up. In a state which the girl might have wished not to see him. Fully drunk and reeking of alcohol, added to that his paan filled mouth. He had informed through his wife 2 days back that he had arranged for 1000 rupees for the units of blood transfused and will come with it to visit her daughter. But on the contrary, when he showed up, he did not have a single paise with him. Me and my fellow intern, who were already enraged at him for not showing up for so many days to see his daughter, who was at death’s door steps gave him a piece of our mind. And out of curiosity, we asked him about what he did with the 1000 rupees he promised to bring. The answer which he gave with a hint of pride in his face, “6 aavadhu aan kolandaiku vaithala.Private hospital poi treatment paathen, selavaagiduchu.enna irunthalum vaarisulainga”.(My 6th and only male child was suffering from diarrhea and i took him to a private hospital where it was spent completely.After all, he is my heir). We were at a loss for words as he walked away not even having a slight feeling of remorse.
2 weeks after my postings got over, i heard that the forlorn female child had passed away due to complications. I could only pray for the other 4 female children.