I was looking through my alerts, and found this rather depressing story on the Times of India, of a woman who has been disowned and abandoned by her family, even after being successfully treated for bipolar disorder.
(The article headline uses the word ‘cured,’ which I think is misleading, but hey, that’s modern journalism for you.)
It’s not just a single individual, though, for at the Delhi government run Institute of Human Behaviour and Health Sciences, a hospital for mental illness, there are some threescore or more patients here alone, thousands nationwide, who have suffered disownment by their relations, who evidently want nothing to do with them.
This is unfortunate in the extreme, and I find it difficult to wrap my mind around the idea of willfully rejecting your own family members over an illness, and then threaten legal action against the hospital for contacting the family.
It’s to me kind of like disowning someone because of a more overtly physical and equally noncontagious disease even when it’s effectively treated or actually cured.
What’s heartbreaking about this is that many of the patients are sustaining themselves from day to day with what seems like the false hope that they are still loved by their families.
But at the same time I’m fully aware that my incredulity has no effect on reality, and even though I don’t like it, this is a very real situation.
Evidently the hospital and a local legal authority are planning to take the issue to Delhi high court, to get a decision for this and all similar cases.
I personally agree with Dr. Nimesh Desai that this sort of rejection and apathy counts as a human rights violation that needs to be addressed, and families who are financially and otherwise able to care for their disabled relations should be legally required to do so.
It would cut down on the workload in hospitals, and alleviate much misuse of public resources, and I think, make it easier to accommodate new patients to more efficiently and effectively treat them.
Here’s to the court’s decision in favor of the disowned patients… May it succeed where other efforts seem to have failed.