Friday, April 24, 2009

School to Blame?

My heart goes out to the parents, relatives and freinds of Akriti Bhatia of Modern School, who passed away the other day, after an asthma attack while still in School. 

Expectedly, the parents and friends of Akriti have put the blame squarely on the School for negligence which caused the death. While investigations will take their own course, let us pause and reflect on what happened, before we jump to conclusions on who was responsible.

At about 10 am in the morning, Akriti complained of an asthma attack, and rang up her mother to send the car to School so she could come home. The mother advised Akriti to go to her Aunt's place instead of coming back home. At about the same time, she informed the Class teacher about her state, and requsted to be excused and let off early.

While everyone waited for the car, Akriti was escorted to the 'sick room' where the nurse administered Oxygen to her. After a while Akriti herself informed the nurse that she was feeling better. The nurse inquired whether Arkiti needed to be put on a nebuliser. Contrary to the parents' allegation that the School did not have a nebuliser, that fact was that the Scholl did have one. It was Akriti who answered in the negative, stating that she already had had two doses of asthma medicines earlier during the day.

The parents also alleged that the School did not call an ambulance and instead wasted time waiting for Akriti's car to arrive. But the fact is Akriti herself confirmed that she was feeling better after the Oxygen. In fact, she spoke again to her mother, confirming that she is leaving School for her Aunt's place. Judgeing by Akriti's response and her inlcination and will to proceed to her Aunt's home, the Scholl allowed her to, and did not feel the need to carry the Oxygen in the car.

Akriti was put on a wheelchair to be taken up to her car, from where she would proceed to her Aunt's place. A decision taken by her own mother. Then her condition detiorated and the nurse decided that she needed to go to the hospital instead. The parents also alleged that the nurse - Lily Kutty, was not qualified. But the fact is she is a qualified nurse who has worked in a reputed hospital in Delhi, and was employed with the School for the past 18 years with a clean track record. To repeat, it was the nurse who decided that Akriti needed hopitalization immeditaely.

She was taken to the nearby hospital a mere 10 minutes' drive. Unfortunately just as she reached the doorsteps of the hospital, she collapsed, and despite resuscitation measures administered by the Doctors, she could not be revived. 

A life lost is a life lost. An irrepairable loss indeed. And one can understand fully the implications, impact, agony and frustration at losing a grown up child.

But the point is - is the School, or any individual employee involved in this mishap, really to be blamed? Even an error of judgement, can be debated. But negligence? I would not think so.

Its like saying that the mother herself was negligent, because she did not rush in her car to the School, to personally take care of her own child. Negligence? No we would hate to think that way. But an error of judgement? Possible.

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