Millennium Post

AIIMS: Patients ‘pained’ by note ban, struggle to find ways

The stories of despair continue for poor homeless patients who come to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for treatment. 

Most of these patients who come from neighbouring and other states (mainly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) are facing life-threatening health complications.

Shortage of money and a longer time is given for tests and consultations are forcing them to reside outside the AIIMS complex waiting for their turns.  

Already facing immense hardships, demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has made their lives even more miserable. A greater difficulty faced by these patients is to buy expensive medicines which are absolutely essential for their survival and well-being. 

As most patients are very poor, they are mostly aided by certain Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and are supplied crucial medicines along with providing support for crucial medical tests. 

Among many of these homeless patients is Shankar Paswan, a 62-year-old widower with a 13-year-old child, hailing from Betia, Bihar. Paswan has a major lump in his throat and has been residing outside AIIMS for almost two months now. 

“Doctors have told me that there is a possibility that this lump may be cancerous. There are a variety of tests which are now being conducted,” Paswan said.

He also mentioned that even as certain charges of medical tests at AIIMS have been waived off, expensive medicines required for his well-being was proving to be a major challenge. 

Paswan highlighted that the demonetisation move has made the process even more difficult. He says: “The charges of my medicines come to Rs 1,200 for eight days. Presently, I am only left with Rs 500.”

He mentioned that after his tests are completed on November 26, he will have to go back to Betia to accrue more cash which will result in further delay of his treatment. 

Paswan’s case is not a solitary one in AIIMS. 

56-year-old Radhey Mohan from Kanpur is suffering from a liver disease and has been visiting AIIMS for the past 10 months. 

Kamla, his wife, says: “We are trying to get him admitted to the hospital but we are not getting any bed.” 

Kamla further adds that demonetisation has resulted in relinquishing their basic benefits so that they can save money for medicines. 
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