Means and ends

The acute shortage of oxygen in hospitals and nursing homes across the eastern region that surfaced as a result of the ongoing agitation of workers at the Binayak Oxygen Industry (BOI) - the sole supplier of the lifesaving gas in the region - has threatened the lives of hundreds of patients. Oxygen is indispensable to patients, especially those under intensive care and undergoing complex treatment procedures. However, with the workers unwilling to relent on their demands, and even to adopt milder methods of protest, hospital authorities are at sixes and sevens as to how best to cope with the huge deficit.

Lately, while medical staff have at times come under physical attack for negligence, on several occasions, they have not been spared even when patients succumbed to their illnesses. This kind of work environment has often discouraged medical staff from attending their duties. Moreover, political groups, labour unions and workers are equally to be blamed for the frequent disruptions of health services in the country. It is universally accepted that disputes can best be settled through peaceful means. The methods of making one’s demands heard by almost crippling the health services cannot be justified by any means. In the meantime, the authorities need to find alternative supply of oxygen, because people’s life is all-important.