Death in the Valley

Hospitals across the country were closed down on Thursday by the Nepal Medical Association (NMA) demanding security for medical personnel. Relatives of Narayan Bahadur Shah, a patient, had allegedly threatened a doctor when he died during an abdominal operation at Everest Nursing Home. Earlier on Wednesday, the NMA had shut down all medical institutions in the capital. In May 2006 too, disgruntled relatives of a patient who had lost his life vandalised the same nursing home. These kinds of incidents are as common, if not more, in government hospitals.

As the number of nursing homes and hospitals increases, the already poor oversight of medical facilities is bound to get even worse. Any loss of life whether due to carelessness of doctors or of natural medical causes should be thoroughly investigated. But thus far, Nepalis are yet to hear of the prosecution of any medical personnel for carelessness; nor are the medicos in question completely exculpated, which, not unreasonably, adds to the mistrust of common people that justice will ever be delivered through legal channels. NMA, for its part, should not have been so hasty in closing down medical institutions without giving the government enough time to look into the matter. All in all, if the latest incident suggests anything it’s that sectors of direct concern to public should be kept as far from politics as possible.