As Nimhans shut its OPD services, a lonely woman who had left her amnesiac child back home 400 km away stood with two prescription forms she could not read. She was among the many caregivers who were left in the lurch on Monday.
Laksmi, the 45-year-old mother, was approaching everyone she could at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) on Monday morning. All she wanted was medicines for her daughter for this week. That she didn’t know the local language complicated the matters further. Whether she should go back to her child without medication or wait with a faint hope of seeing a doctor, she was unsure.
Hundreds of patient attendants spent hours at the outpatient department to meet doctors. It was a chaotic scene as doctors refused to attend to the non-emergency cases.
“I am a daily wage labourer and a resident of Yelagiri in Tamil Nadu. I come here once in two weeks leaving my daughter with some kids to take medications for her. She cannot remember anything. I am here since 4 am but no one seems to help. My bus tickets cost me Rs 1,000. I cannot afford to come back again,” Lakshmi told DH.
Patients with schizophrenia, alcohol addiction, amnesia and neuro- problems had gathered in huge numbers at the OPD unaware that the strike was underway.
Sharan, another aggrieved, was with his mother. “My parents have come from Kalaburagi. My mother does not have medication for the next week. We do not know when to come back next,” he said.
Hari (name changed), from Gauribidnur, has been prescribed medicines for one week. The doctors had given him antidepressants and asked him to undergo some tests. “I do not even know whether this medication could be continued or stopped,” he said.
Patients at Nimhans claimed that they were the worst affected as over-the-counter medication is a strict no.
“For someone with a common cold, even a pharmacist will give medicine. No one will give medication for anxiety. I will have to wait till next Monday now,” said another patient. Nimhans authorities could not be reached for a reaction.