Readers response on shortage of ventilators & high COVID treatment cost
From reports that ventilators are not being manufactured because components are not available to the curious tweet that India is on the verge of exporting ventilators, there is no clarity
Oxygen in short supply
The video clip of a dying man bidding farewell to his father appeared on social media, provoked some outrage and disappeared. He was having difficulty breathing, said the man, but he had been pulled out of ventilator support several hours ago with no explanation. The man was certain that he was dying and said as much. “Bye daddy” he said to the camera and left viewers to wonder about his fate. The next day some media outlets including ndtv.com reported that the man was dead. It is shocking that a man in need of oxygen is denied even air to breathe. In March media reports suggested that we had 40,000 ventilators. In April reports said only 22,000 were functional. In may there were reports that PM CARES Trust had ordered 50,000 ventilators and that the number of ventilators in the country were at an all time high. In June came reports that BEL has manufactured only 2000 ventilators because imported components were not available.
But a day after The Indian Express reported BEL’s sorry plight, there was a curious tweet by the CEO of Niti Ayog, Amitabh Kant, that India was now in a happy position of exporting ventilators. Days later, Mumbai Mirror reported that ventilators made in India had failed to work in hospitals. As a citizen, I feel angry and also helpless. What are we to believe? Who are we to believe? Will I get a ventilator if and when I need one? Will my country be able to provide me with some air to breathe?
Dr Kalpana Joshi
COVID-19 treatment cost
US pharmaceutical giant Gilead appears to have announced that Remdesivir, the medicine approved by WHO as part of the treatment protocol for COVID-19, will cost $2,300 for a five-day course in developing countries. In India it would come to Rs 1.73 lakh! Possibly more. This was expected and those who have followed the sordid story of research papers appearing in reputed medical journals like Lancet had voiced apprehension that they were possibly .
If ₹ 1.73 lakh is going to be the cost of medicine alone for five days, and half a million Rupees or more the cost of week-long treatment, how many Indians will be able to afford it?
With rising cases of police brutality, arbitrary arrests and torture in custody, a few simple steps should improve the situation.
1. Make it mandatory for police in the field to use body cameras as in the US.
2. Install CCTV cameras in lock ups and police stations.
3. Ensure that no instruction is given to police stations orally or on phone.
4. Once a year a Parliamentary Committee should grill the police chief of a state or city and demand answers to questions in public interest.
Rape & Justice
The shockingly insensitive observations by a judge of the Karnataka High Court has rightly upset women, lawyers and activists. The observation unfortunately is not an isolated one and most judges in subordinate or higher judiciary look Time to call out China Mail your letters, not exceeding 150 words, to email@example.com at rape victims with unconcealed disgust. Their unasked question seems to be why the victims are still alive after the rape. If the victim does not die or fails to suffer serious injuries in fighting off the rapist, her version is always treated with suspicion. In this case, Justice Krishna Dikshit granted bail to the rapist and observed that the victim had not objected to having a drink with him and that after the rape, she had fallen asleep.
“Is there a handbook How to Behave After Being Raped that none of us have read?” asked senior advocate Rebecca John. “You don’t blame a murder victim for provoking her murder. You look at evidence. Why is it so hard to do that for rape victims?” As a lawyer, I am sorry to admit that judges still do not understand that nothing can justify rape.
An ashamed lawyer