The devastating fall.

Chandra Banu on ventilator  at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Oman
Chandran Ban on ventilator at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Oman

Pa says Chandran Ban has been on ventilator since the last 45 days. I somehow cannot bring myself to come in terms with it.I have my reservations with ventilatory support, dire ignorance perhaps. More so, because of the trauma the patient goes through- to have life and not have enough life at the same time.

The report says,” Admitted with fall from height quadriplegic. Post surgical fixation C5 corpectomy and stabilisation.”

To the lay man,he is completely paralysed,unconscious and cannot survive without the ventilator. It could be that similar stories in a week make it sound simpler than we would have other wise pictured it.

Two months back, Chandran Ban was taken into the neuro- ward of the Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Oman, it being the closest to the site, following a fall from a building. His spinal cord suffered total damage.

Fall. We hear about so many of them. Most of them, construction workers who fall during work.

What we don’t hear about is how their life changes overnight. Most lie in coma for a long time, some on ventilatory support, some extremely critical. Some come off with a permenant disability. Yet, so little is done  to protect them before or support them after the fall. I write this less for help and more for creating awareness about the need for safety of workers, those at risk of fall, often times than more, the least paid of the working class.

Just like him, there are two others in another hospital in Oman, one in in the ICU, another about who we know little details, both admitted after a fall from the worksite. The thing we realise very little is that hardly any of these men are left in such a state that they get up after the fall, dust themselves and get back to making a living again. The fall is often more devastating than it really is.

Sadly, as for Chandran Ban, the sponsor says he isn’t able to trace this man’s family back home. If Pa had said this in 1992, when he wanted to contact the family of Gopi Apukuttan who was found in his home months after he lay there dead and decomposed just to tell them he would be cremated in Oman, it was understandable.But, today in this age of social media and speed, it is not acceptable that a man languishes in the hospital of a foreign land and his family in India doesn’t know.

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