The outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in the country has become severe taking the death toll in Muzaffarpur and other districts of Bihar over 100. The situation is alarming and losing over 100 children to AES cannot be considered as anything less than a catastrophe. The media, however, in their zeal to cover the disaster seems to be doing exactly what they should be fighting again – endangering the lives of patients who come to the hospital for AES treatment.
A video came to light earlier where Anjana Om Kashyap, a senior journalist from the India Today group was seen heckling and questioning a doctor inside the ICU.
Former Executive of Zee Media, Mohammad Anas uploaded the video by questioning what Anjana Om Kashyap was doing inside the ICU. He also said that she was wasting valuable time of the doctors.
Who allowed @anjanaomkashyap inside the ICU? Is she a Doctor? Is she a Nurse? She is just uttering illogical words and wasting valuable time of the doctor. She is creating nuisance inside the ICU. Is this Journalism?I am shocked. Shame On You Anjana. #MuzaffarpurChildrenDeath pic.twitter.com/JDTAw9YntF
— Mohammad Anas (@anasinbox) June 18, 2019
In the video, Anjana Om Kashyap can be seen heckling a doctor and questioning him about the condition of the hospital and the care being provided to the children who come in with Encephalitis. She questions the doctor about the arrangements, why a new patient is not being attended to etc. The doctor, who is visibly agitated tries to explain to Anjana that the patient has just come in and will be attended to.
Being unsatisfied with the TRP that a normal, logical response might create, Anjana presses on. Insensitively, she asks the doctor how many children have died so far on that day. She then points towards a bed with multiple patients on it and tells the doctor to do his job well. She tells him to treat the patients and ensure proper care. Then, she questions why there are multiple patients on one bed and the ‘haalat’ of the care being provided. The doctor had already told her, in an agitated manner, that if the number of beds is limited and the number of patients by accommodating more patients and hence, there are multiple children on one bed.
Anjana Om Kashyap then proceeds to heckle a nurse. She asks her the same set of questions that she annoyed the doctor with. The nurse, agitated, respond to her saying that if there are patients obviously they will be tended to and that the other nurse had just stepped away.
The nurse also tries to explain to Anjana that they are trying to accommodate as many patients as they can to care for them.
Anjana moves on with her arrogant demeanour and starts heckling the previous doctor again. She asks him how many beds there are in that hospital. The doctor, still, gives a calm response which is an achievement in itself after Anjana was being nothing short of crazy.
After she gets an answer she proceeds to give the doctor a lesson in sensitivity and management.
What Anjana Om Kashyap did in that Intensive Care Unit (ICU) was not a journalist by any stretch of the imagination. Firstly, she seems to have gone inside the ICU, which is prohibited for anyone other than the patients and the caretakers. She then proceeded to heckle and agitate the doctor and nurse on duty just for cheap television eyeballs.
The charade of caring for the children who are troubled with Encephalitis has been a rampant scene on television with journalists trying to play their angle through the reportage. Some try to play politics, while others, like Anjana Om Kashyap, try to heckle doctors and nurses to convince the world that she and her channel care about those children.
However, what Anjana ended up doing what wasting precious time that the doctors and nurses should have been spending taking care of the children instead of talking to a hyper, insensitive journalist. When an outbreak happens, every moment of the doctor’s time is precious because that is all that stands between the life and death of the patient. Anjana wasted that time mouthing off useless words and inanities while agitating the doctors who would be working on the patients.
It is possible that Anjana was genuinely upset about the mounting deaths in Bihar and just made an error in judgement. A bad call on what direction was to be taken. However, eventually, the line taken endangered lives and wasted precious time of the doctors.
If Anjana had to find answers and pin the burden of negligence on anyone, she should have been heckling the Chief Minister of the state. She should have asked questions of the Health Minister of Bihar who recently made a terribly insensitive comment. At most, she should have been questioning the management of the hospital. Why she felt the need to heckle doctors and nurses, who seem to be trying their best to save lives despite limited capacity, is beyond the realm of imagination. What Anjana Om Kashyap did in that ICU was the pinnacle of irresponsible journalism driven by emotions.