The day my sister died
Balochistan may be the largest province of Pakistan, but it is the most backward one when it comes to accessing the basic necessities of life. Even on the political front, this province has fallen into chaos. However, my aim is not to scribe these issues.
The Karachi-Quetta highway may be one of the most active routes and serves thousands of vehicles, unfortunately, that same route has now become a life-taker. Hundreds of people have had serious accidents on this road but there are no medical facilities to deal with them immediately. In case of an accident or emergency on this highway, the victims have no way to end their misery and hence, death seems the only option.
The nearby districts, Mastung, Qalat, Khuzdar, Otal, Bela and Hub, have the status of being some of the main districts of this area. Still, these districts are deprived of medical facilities as basic as the provision of oxygen, among other aid. Hospitals are miles away from the main road, and in most cases, people lose their battle with death whilst on route to these hospitals. In other cases, if they are lucky enough to have reached the hospital, they are not treated with immediacy or basic first aid and thus, die.
My story also revolves around this deadly route. It is about my family members who suffered for nine long hours only to meet devastating consequences.
September 9, 2012, turned our world upside down. My sister was travelling to Karachi with her husband and three children when they had a very serious accident. They were about twenty minutes away from the district of Khuzdar. They lay there on the road for hours and were then taken to a hospital in Khuzdar.
My sister and her son suffered critical head injuries and needed to be supplied oxygen immediately. The medical staff told them that there was no oxygen supply at the hospital.
They were to be taken to Karachi, which is about nine hours away from Khuzdar, but even the ambulance carrying them had no oxygen supply. Thus, they were rushed to a hospital in Otal, which was closer, only to face the same predicament ─ no oxygen.
Disheartened, we made our way to Karachi, and after nine hours the injured were admitted at the Agha Khan University hospital, one of the most renowned hospitals in the city. The staff informed me that had my sister and her son been provided oxygen in time, their brains would have been more active and their condition less critical.
Both of them needed to be put on ventilators but due to unforeseen circumstances, this could not be done here.
After two more hours of painful struggle, we finally found ventilators at Ziauddin hospital. Unfortunately, my sister lost her life the very next day, leaving us in deep sorrow and mourning. My nephew ─ the one who suffered brain injury ─ is still in a comatose state.
So now we had lost a loved one and another one was in deep coma due to the lack of oxygen and basic medical facilities in Balochistan; but there was more to come.
My other nephews were kept under observation in emergency for one day at the Agha Khan, and were then discharged. They gave us clear reports, however, after returning to Quetta and spending three days in mourning, the health of one of my nephews suddenly deteriorated. His ribs ached terribly.
After getting his X-ray done, we were shocked to find out that he had a badly fractured rib. He is still undergoing treatment at a hospital.
My family and I have not overcome the trauma that this incident left us with. I doubt we will ever be able to come through.
The point of writing this blog is not just to tell people about my tragedy. I write in hopes that the concerned authorities will read this and do something about the pathetic condition of the hospitals in the area. Hundreds of people have suffered and even more will go through the same if measures are not taken to improve the situation in time.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.