Sunday, December 12, 2010

Asbestos Victims in India on a Hunger Strike

Chest X-ray in asbestosis shows plaques above ...Image via Wikipedia
Chest X-ray with Asbestosis.
A group of alleged asbestosis victims from Jhadole in Udaipur, Rajasthan are sitting on a hunger strike in front of the sub-divisional magistrate's (SDM) office in Udaipur, in India.  The victims are demanding that the reports of the medical tests done on them by the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH), Ahmedabad, be made available to them.      NIOH had done a test on about 166 persons from Jhadole and Devigarh to ascertain whether they are affected with asbestosis.  These persons had been working in asbestos mines before the mining of asbestos was banned in India.  But while the doctors who had conducted the tests have published research papers (even included in NIOH newsletters) confirming asbestosis in at least 93 persons, none of them have been personally given the test report even after they had applied for it.  Even the names of those affected have not been made available.  Without this information, the miners are unable to claim any compensation or receive proper treatment.
     NIOH had conducted tests on 163 persons, including 56 females.  While pursuing the difficult task of getting one’s own medical reports 18 persons have already died and we don't know if they were from amongst those who were ascertained to be positive or are from the others.
     We are amazed with this situation because not only would this not happen in the United States, but the Doctors involved with the research would be held liable in the United States for not providing the information to the workers.  We guess the Doctor's code of do no harm does not apply to Doctors in India.  What do these researchers think they are doing the research for?  The researchers themselves should be ostracized.  This is the worst kind of researcher one who is interested in the research with no regard for the subjects of their research.

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