In a New York hospital, an old man lay almost senseless in the neuro ward. Doctors had no hopes of his survival, yet there was no laxity in treatment on the part of doctors or relatives. One evening, when the shift changed, the doctor realised that the old man may not survive the night. He was disturbed at the thought that no one of his sons or relatives would be by his side during his last moments.
As the time passed, the condition of the patient worsened. For the doctor, now more important was getting some relative to the patient’s bedside. He knew that the rules did not permit him to contact relatives of a patient for anything other than treatment. He was in a dilemma. Could he find the address of patient’s son and give him a call to come to the hospital? Should he do this? Should he not make the last moments of a departing soul peaceful and easy?
Finally, the doctor searched the contact number of the patient’s son and informed him of his fast deteriorating condition. Whether someone came or not, at least he would have done his duty. On receiving the phone, the son asked, “Doctor, is my father’s bill not paid?”
Are we so conscious of our rights to privacy and freedom and have no concern for our duties and responsibilities?
“Of course it is paid and nothing is due.”
“Then, what do you mean by disturbing me at this hour of the night?”
“But sir, I thought your father…” the shocked doctor said.
“Doctor, you are paid for your duty of looking after my father and administering him the proper treatment. Who has authorised you to interfere in my personal affairs?” yelled the son and snapped the phone.
Two days later, the hospital received a court summon for a suit of damages.
What has our progress and materially developed civilisation taught us? Are we so conscious of our rights to privacy and freedom and have no concern for our duties and responsibilities? Have we grown just commodities being weighed for their utility?
Man is not a piece of fruit that you peel, eat the fruit and throw the peel away. But do we really realise this aspect of human existence?