As the auto driver was narrating the agony of the pregnant woman in labor and her husband, whom he took to the government hospital in Bangalore, all the pain from the past came back to my mind…
A Grinding, Churning, Creaking pain in the pelvic joint… Closed Eyes...Gritting teeth….Eyes shedding tear drops but the tear drops do not dare to trickle down the cheeks…Hands moving to the belly unconsciously trying to check the little baby inside...Worried looks on all the faces around…A sudden relief…. Words spring up.. Vocal cord breaks open the silence and says “God, this is impossible to bear”! The kith and kin fervently pray for the strength of the woman.
You just read the most minimal, realistic, verbal visualization of the throbbing effect of labor pain that most women get to go through.
And it repeats… and goes on and on until the final creak, and first cry leading to dried tears on the new mom’s face.
(It is impossible for me not to recollect my own blessed chances of going through labor twice, both times very different experiences, with different people to oversee, and very different levels of pain!!)
Its good, because, only if I had known the pain, would I understand what the lady in labor traveling in auto in Bangalore traffic to the hospital may have gone through.
Apparently, the auto driver stood support for the man while the lady was in the labor room. The husband had chosen this hospital because the delivery was to be done free of cost. They were construction workers and could not afford an expensive plush hospital.
The scene as reported by the auto driver to me on my way to work.....
The doctor comes back with a serious look on his face saying, the lady was safe but the newborn was at risk and needed an incubator which comes at a cost of Rs 8k. The new father obviously went into a sudden shock as all he had was Rs. 3500 at the moment. The auto driver had a 2k which he managed from his previous day’s work. So 5.5k and still the incubator was denied. And this is at a govt.hospital.
The auto driver spoke to many people and managed to gain some support for the cause and the hospital agreed to house the baby until these men took a decision. Due to some medical complexity, the baby was having trouble breathing properly. With all the stress this whole event caused, the new dad completely lost hopes.
This auto driver drove to two other hospitals and spoke to all concerned, found a hospital which agreed for the incubator and the baby care provided, these people were ready to take care of the extra charges that may be incurred for the special supplies, ( that need to be procured from outside )that the hospital may not always have.
The auto driver shifted the mother and baby to this hospital ( Victoria Hospital which was roughly an hour’s ride by auto on a clear traffic day from Whitefield ), ensured that he spoke to all the authorities in the hospital board and got the baby and mom safe and sound back home. He shelled out his 4 days income, 8k and borrowed whatever else was needed from some benefactors and supported the new dad through the ordeal.
Every day he would visit the baby in the hospital before his day began at 6 A.M. He did this for seven days. For someone, he didn’t even know.
Now, if a common man has so much compassion and could go a little further than he can financially manage for a stranger’s baby, what do we have to say about the government hospitals that have the duty to take care of the childbirths that happen in their portals?? Where are the law and order?? When it is free, is it not supposed to be totally free?? Given that a new born’s life is at stake, who would think of money, that too in a government hospital??
What exactly are the hospital authorities heading the government hospitals in India thinking?? or doing if I may ask??
If not for this auto driver, I am not sure if the lady would have been able to see the baby in her arms!! Some people are God-sends, this auto driver is definitely one of them for the young couple!. Now, we need rulers who have some selflessness like this autorickshaw driver.
Although I am a believer that God would have sent someone else; that does not mean the government cannot do anything for the poor and underprivileged, especially after declaring that all deliveries in a Govt Hospital are free of cost!. If the delivery is free, does it not imply that till the mother-baby duo are seen safe out of the portals of the hospital everything is free?? If not, its time the authorities started raising funds!!
.........Will the authorities think??