Ethics Case Study – 28

The homeless mentally challenged are those unfortunate men & women whom we often see wandering on the roads, lost in their own world, laughing and talking to themselves, with dirty long matted hair, half naked and skin & bones appearance. They may be just barely surviving on garbage, gutter water and whatever leftovers of food are thrown at them by passers-by’s. They are in much worse shape than the poorest of the poor because they have no one, absolutely no one to look after them. They are on the roads for weeks – months – years without food, clothing or shelter. No one may give them a second glance and often no one cares whether they live or die. They are stripped of all human dignity, but they are humans nevertheless.

Currently in most parts of India, unlike in some developed nations, there are no effective social/health security nets in place for the wandering insane. In the event of an accident or a medical emergency involving homeless, mentally challenged individuals, there is no established protocol on who takes them to a hospital and who is responsible for their care. In the developed countries, the economically and socially disadvantaged are protected by the government. In India, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and charitable organisations take over this role, usually only when they come across such an individual in need of care. Systems are so stretched that this does not happen in most parts of India.

Several ethical issues are encountered during the process of caring for these patients, pertaining to medical care and rehabilitation. Ponder over the situation and answer the following questions:

  1. a) Which factors are responsible for disability? (5 marks)
  2. b) What types of challenges and opportunities are faced by NGOs providing treatment, custodial care and rehabilitation to the neglected group of mentally – ill roadside destitute? (20 marks)

25 marks / 250 words.

Please write the answer in the comments section

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