Patient dies as PM’s security stops him, Singh says sorry, directs security to be sensitive
Proving beyond doubt that he is not a run of the mill VVIP, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed profound sense of sadness at the death of a kidney patient at a premier health institute in Chandigarh because of security restrictions to mark his visit to the place on Tuesday.
In fact, he has written a formal letter expressing his ‘profound sense of sadness’ to the bereaved family telling them that he would ensure that no such incident repeated in the future.
‘I have issued instructions so that in future authorities are more sensitive to the concerns of the common man while imposing restrictions for reasons of security’, Manmohan Singh wrote in the letter to the wife of 32-year-old patient Sumit Verma.
Singh visited the Institute - Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research PGIMER, to participate in its convocation. He was at the place from 11.30 a.m. till 2.30 p.m.
Sumit Verma hailed from Ambala, a small town some 30 km from Chandigarh. He was suffering from renal failure and related complications. His local doctors referred him to the PGIMER, which is a specialized multi-specialty referral hospital for north-western India.
Verma could not gain entry into the institute. The police made him go around various entry points which were closed and he died for want of timely medical attention, according to the family.
The TV channels highlighted the heart rendering story even when the Prime Minister was at PGIMER. To the credit of Manmohan Singh’s office, it must be said, they immediately called for details from PGIMER without waiting for his return to Delhi.
It is interesting that Manmohan Singh felt it fair and proper to write a personal letter to the bereaved family, while the PGIMER authorities did their best to claim that the institute and security were not guilty. In fact, the Institute spokesperson went on the TV to rubbish the Verma story and claim that during the prime minister's visit, no patient was stopped from entering the institute. It is said in their defence that PGIMER emergency catered to some 40 patients between 8am and 1 pm on the fateful day, Tuesday.
Notwithstanding the denial, tight security measures that blocked several roads leading to PGIMER and the heavy police deployment caused inconvenience to the public. Many complained that they could not access the hospital. Interestingly, the Prime Minister asked doctors in his address to reach out to common people.
Tight security is not uncommon wherever Prime Minister goes. A section of the road is blocked to traffic for hours. This has been the story under successive prime ministers beginning with Rajiv Gandhi. But this is the first time the chief executive of the country has reached out to a bereaved family.
In his letter to Verma’ wife, the Prime Minister said: ‘I am writing to you to express my profound sense of sadness at the death of your husband Shri Sumit Verma … I understand that he could not get access to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, in time because of the restrictions in place for my visit there. This is something I deeply regret. I have issued instructions, so that in future the authorities are more sensitive to the concerns of the common man, while imposing such restrictions for reasons of security.’
-Asian Tribune -