Mentally ill UK national sent home after 2 years

Karawal Nagar cops found her wandering in the city

A British national came to India two years ago on religious tourism. Wandering in the ashrams of mountains in Rishikesh, Haridwar and the likes, she did not know that she would land in a mental health institute in Delhi and stay beyond her visa period.

Having spent one-and-a-half years in female ward of the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences, she was sent to her home country on Tuesday.

She was found wandering on Delhi streets by Karawal Nagar police and was brought to the institute by the order of a magistrate on January 3, 2011.

“We set up a medical board, which gave the opinion that she suffered from paranoid schizophrenia,” said psychiatrist Dr Manoj Kumar, who is treating her.

The woman kept walking in and out of the ward all the time, would rest for a while and start to walk again.

“Most of the times she would roam in circles believing that there is some energy coming from earth and that energy is causing her to roam,” said Dr Kumar.

Even in soaring heat of Delhi, where temperatures go above 40 degree Celsius, she would not agree to wearing shoes or slippers.

She used to talk initially.  But for more than a year, she did not utter even a word to anyone, he said.

As the British national did not reveal any information about herself, the institute had to depend on the embassy to find her family.

“These are difficult cases. Even after tracing the family, she could not be sent back because she was not in a condition to undertake a flight. It could create safety problems,” said Dr Nimesh G Desai, director, IHBAS.

Her visa expired in December 2011. But she being sent home only now, accompanied by a medical attendant from the hospital.

Lean and thin with blond hair, and fond of Indian dresses and accessories, she was maintained by the British embassy during her stay in the institute.

“She loved wearing ethnic Indian ear-rings and we used to buy them for her," said a nurse of the female ward.

A senior doctor pointed out at a major problem associated with treatment of foreign nationals.

“The Mental Health Act, 1987 of India does not specify how to deal with citizens of other nations. Understanding of human rights is different in different nations.

This patient refused to take any kind of medication. We had to approach the court and it delayed her treatment by many months,” he said.

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