Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, September 25
Denied shelter by at least three shelter homes in the district, a 22-year-old mentally challenged woman has been putting up at the ESI Hospital in Jalandhar for the past six months amid the pandemic.
She bows her head and does namaste, whenever she meets a stranger. She spends most of her time gazing out of a window in search of familiar faces. The hospital authorities have written at least six times to the Deputy Commissioner and the Station House Officer to shift her to an orphanage (Pingalwara), but to no avail.
The official concerned at the ESI Hospital wrote to the SHO of police station number 4 on July 13 and September 2 and to the Deputy Commissioner on July 22 and September 3. The matter was referred to the District Programme Officer (DPO) by the Deputy Commissioner on September 16, but the post of the DPO is lying vacant.
Brought with fracture
Initially brought for treatment – the ESI Hospital has now become her house as no shelter home is willing to accept her.
Referred as Kiran by hospital staff, repeated efforts to trace her family has proved futile. Found in tattered clothing – she was admitted to the hospital with a limb fracture by 108 ambulance in April.
A polythene bag full of clothes lies next to her, filled with suits, brought for her by staff nurses. The authorities have run Covid-19 and pregnancy tests on her– all of which has come out negative.
“She tried to run away. We are concerned about her safety as she does not understand anything and gets very aggressive. She casts off her clothes and runs away repeatedly. We have brought her back many times,” said a staff member. Prodded by little they understood, health teams have searched Dhina village to look for her relatives.
MS Dr Loveleen Garg said, “We have six unidentified or destitute patients. At least three shelter homes have refused to take the 22-year-old woman. Repeated letters to the Deputy Commissioner have not brought any positive results. There are all kinds of elements around the hospital. She tries to escape when she gets angry. One of the shelter homes first asked us to get her tested for Covid-19 but didn’t take her in even after she tested negative. We have also tested her for pregnancy. We need to shift her to a shelter home.”
Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said, “At present, I don’t have details of the 22-year-old woman. We will shift her through the Red Cross Society once we get all the information.”
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