Monday, December 12, 2011

Any Lessons to be learnt from AMRI tragedy in Calcutta, India? Sure … But

It was shocking to read about the horror from the Kolkata #AMRI hospital fire that claimed 86 of 160 patients. (NYT)  Given the sense of public outrage, it is not surprising to see how the Government has formulated a “Special Investigation Team” to probe the “causes of the worst hospital fire in recent memory”.

Obituaries are being written and a lot of questions being asked by Digirati and Media and more importantly the Indian middle class, that is a key ‘consumer’ of private hospital services in India.

Non resident Indians, self included, are also closely watching the outcome of investigation though I am personally not holding my breadth on any meaningful change in attitude towards the value of individual human lives in a country with over a billion of them. Perhaps it is my personal  glimpse into human-crisis-management in India has made me a bit cynical (ref)
But I guess it is not just me. Santosh for Über Desi blog sums it up in a sentence “ Indian cities, over the last 20 years in particular, have sought to model themselves after the West; swanky malls, ritzy apartment complexes and state-of-the-art hospitals and medical care; for all this prosperity and opulence, safety and concern for human lives is still a “phoren” concept.”

If you ask most Indians and NRIs if there are any Lessons to be learnt from AMRI tragedy, most of us would say sure! But the real question is whether we have an appetite for changing the status quo. And can Indians afford the cost of safety that accompanies a concern for human life.