HYDERABAD: Two mental hospitals in the state have been facing a peculiar problem for some days now. Some patients there are not taking food and medicines. Well, it may sound not quite uncommon in a hospital for people with mental disorders, but interestingly they are all cured and sane people! The issue is... they are all prisoners and are on protest against the delay in discharging them.
At the Institute of Mental Health in Erragadda, Hyderabad and the Government Hospital for Mental Care in Visakhapatnam, about 70 patients brought by the prisons department are periodically refusing to take food and medicines as they are not being discharged even after their treatment has been completed.
Says Dr K Vijay Gopal, the superintendent of the Visakhapatnam Government Hospital for Mental Care, "Fifty percent of the patients here are those sent by the prisons department. They are treated for a period of two weeks to six months and discharged. But for sometime now the prison officials are not taking them back even after we informed them that they have been cured."
Agrees Dr V Pramod Kumar, the superintendent of the Institute of Mental health (IMH). "Mentally ill people who have been brought here by police officials following court orders have been troubling us by not taking food and medicines as they are frustrated over getting stuck here," Kumar adds.