Posted by: h4ck@lyst | March 8, 2008

Speechless…

Read this article in The Times of India. And for once I was left dumbstruck and speechless. Hope he gets help soon.

EDIT:: Read the follow up on this piece here

EDIT 2:: Majjunath Kalmani passed away on June 5,2008. May god bless his soul.

Sent back by US, paralysed techie has nowhere to go

We Can’t Afford To Take Care Of Him: Family

Risha Chitlangia | TNN

New Delhi: Manjunath Kalmani occasionally gives a confused smile. But his eyes never smile. Framed by the iron headrest of his hospital bed, a striped sheet draped over him, Manju remains immobile. Actually, he can’t move even if he wanted to — he was paralysed neck down following a car accident in the US on May 1, 2002.
The date is etched in his brain that’s ticking away — and registering every bizarre twist in his life story that took a dramatic turn on that early May morning. Not only was his promising life as a software engineer rudely interrupted at the age of 27, but he was reduced to a vegetable, living under the care of nurses in an alien land. And today he’s back home, but with no one to take care of him.
That’s the latest twist in his short but eventful life. On Wednes
day an air ambulance ferried him from Northside Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia, to the Palam airport. And from there, he was taken and dumped at Safdarjung Hospital which put him on a ventilator. The crippling paralysis has made his respiratory system useless.
Manju was on his way home from Nashville that May Day when his car spun out of control and hit a tree, leaving him with a badly injured spine. Following a brain stroke, and an emergency operation, he was paralysed neck down.
So all he can do now is speak in a rasping whisper that’s not easy
to comprehend. ‘‘I want to meet my mother. I haven’t met her for the past eight years. Please tell her I’m missing her if you get to speak to her,’’ he told TOI. Manju’s family is in Koppal, Karnataka. But hesitant to come to Delhi.
‘‘Come, and do what?’’ asked his brother Sudhakar when contacted over phone. The family can’t afford his treatment, and fears it might be forced to take him back home. ‘‘We can’t take care of Manju. He is on ventilator and we don’t have the facility to take care of him,’’ said Sudhakar, who works in a coopera
tive society that lends money to farmers and petty businessmen. Manju’s father is a farmer and mother Vidyawati a housewife.
There was a time when the same family thought Manju would change everything for them. He had got a job with an American new economy company, weather.com, for which he was developing software. But the economy turned choppy and laid off many. Manju, too, got the pink slip. As it turned out, life had greater trials in store.
Injured but spirit intact, he started a blog on himself
New Delhi: Since Manjunath Kalmani was without a job for a few months he didn’t have the money to renew his medical insurance. And that’s when he met with the accident. In short, he was at the mercy of the kindness of fellow humans.
Which came in good measure. The Indian community raised money several times for Manju. And he was moved to the Shepherd Rehab Center in Atlanta and then to a community apartment with nurses.
Even as he lay immobile in bed, Manju’s spirit wasn’t broken. He started a blog with software system (sip-n-puff) based on the Morse code mkalmani.blogspot.com. He wrote about his injury and other things — such as, myths and the truth about diabetes. It wasn’t a life without self-respect and might have remained that way but for the fact that his visa expired.
That’s when the hospital got frantic about getting rid of him. In India, where life is cheap, such helpless persons are simply dumped, but you can’t do that in the US. The hospital, therefore, got in touch with the Indian mission, and for two years tried to get it to shift him back to India. Finally, on March 3 he was discharged, and accompanied by a nurse and an emergency medical technician of Central EMS and Life
Flight Air Ambulance Services, brought back here by Phoenix Air Worldwide Aircraft Services. If only to be dumped.
Said Safdarjung Hospital medical superintendent Dr Jagdish Prasad: ‘‘The hospital received a call from the Indian Embassy, Washington, at 2.24 am on March 5,
2008 and was informed about Manjunath. And also that the air ambulance would be landing in Delhi in a few hours. We have admitted him on humanitarian grounds as the people who had brought him here were not ready to take him back.’’
Sudhakar told TOI that on February 28, a person called
Sandra rang him up from Shepherd Rebab Center. ‘‘She said Manju was being shifted to Mother Teresa hospital in Delhi.’’ There’s no such hospital in the city; however, there is a destitute home by the name of Mother Teresa.
Said Sudhakar, ‘‘I had written to Shepherd Center about our condition and that we would not be able to take care of him. I had requested them that they should consider Manjunath’s case on humanitarian grounds. I just want my brother to stay alive

and taken care of. We can’t afford his treatment. But I don’t want him to die.’’
That, in short, is Manju’s story. In medical terms, he is a quadriplegic. He also has hypothyroidism, type two diabetes, chronic urinary infection, depression, chronic abdominal pain with gastroparesis, profound blood pressure variation. All this is from his discharge slip from Northside Hospital, Atlanta.
What it doesn’t say is that he is totally helpless and on the mercy, yet again, of human kindness.

US dream to nightmare

EARLY 2000
Manjunath left for Nashville after he got a job in a software company weather.com

May 1, 2002 | He met with an accident and was rushed to Vanderbilt Hospital, Nashville. He had injury at C4/C5 level in his spine. He underwent a surgery but says his condition deteriorated and affected C2 level. He was paralysed neck down and was put on a ventilator. He then developed diabetes
A few months later, Manjunath was shifted to Shepherd Rehabilitation Centre, Atlanta, Georgia
May 2006 | He was shifted from Shepherd Rehabilitation Centre to Shepherd Spinal Cord Injury Community Apartments, where nurses took care of him. But he had to be moved in and out of hospital due to various medical complications. He says his condition deteriorated
March 3, 2008 | Manjunath was airlifted and sent to India as his visa had expired
March 5, 2008 | He was left at Safdarjung Hospital, staring at an uncertain fate

HOME ALONE: Manjunath in hospital
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Responses

  1. […] No more 🙂 Follow up on the Manjunath Kalmani case… courtesy the Times Of […]

  2. […] up on the Manjunath Kalmani case… courtesy the Times Of […]


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