The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ailing prisoners dumped to die at RIMS

Ranchi, Aug. 1: Do prisoners deserve to be left to die in a room of a government medical institute when they are ill? It seems true in the case of a 78-year-old prisoner who died today.

And he is not alone. Nurses and constables told The Telegraph that jail authorities “dump” prisoners at the medical institute once they are severely ill.

Shadeo Mahto, one of the seven prisoners undergoing treatment at the Ranchi Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) died due to lack of proper care today. Another prisoner Patrick Kujur (48) is on the verge of dying.

Mahto, who was a murder convict serving a life-term and was referred to RIMS from the Dumka Jail on July 27, after jail authorities found him suffering from acute weakness and breathlessness. While Kujur, a convict in a forgery case, was referred to RIMS from the Lohardaga jail. The jail doctor admitted him when he realised it would be difficult to save the prisoner, who was suffering from acute breathlessness.

Kujur was first admitted to the prisoner’s ward on the ground floor of RIMS. When his condition deteriorated due to lack of proper care, he was shifted to the intensive critical care unit (ICCU) on the first floor of RIMS yesterday. He is now undergoing treatment in bed no. 10 of the institute but there is no one to take proper care of him.

Nurses admitted that the jail administration does not depute any staff to attend on ailing prisoners and leaves them on the mercy of the para medical staff at RIMS. Nurses said there are a limited para medical staff and it was difficult to do justice to all the patients.

If a patient, a nurse said, requires extra medicine, he is not administered the same due to inadequate money and manpower. A constable said that police officials are not expected to leave the hospital due to security reasons and are thus helpless in an emergency situation.

In fact, the prisoner ward at RIMS has become an ideal place where the jail administration dumps ailing prisoners and leaves them to die, a nurse pointed out.

RIMS director, N.N. Agarwal, also supported the fact and said the jail administration forgets about their prisoner once they are admitted to RIMS. “When a patient from a jail comes to our institute it becomes our responsibility to take care of them, which we do with the means available with us,” he said.

IG (prison), Sunil Kumar Burnwal, however, said the jail administration provides all help to the prisoners admitted at RIMS. “We are their (prisoners) guardian till they are in our custody,” he said adding that the jail superintendents make arrangements for extra medicine and other help a prisoner may need at RIMS.

But, a constable deputed on security duty said it was difficult to inform the jail administration about patients at RIMS in times of emergency. Sometimes the police spend money from their own pockets to purchase extra medicine on humanitarian grounds.

The constable said that the living condition of the prisoners’ ward was not up to the mark and they were not even given mosquito nets.

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