Tamil Nadu

St. Joseph’s Hospice: Despite order, they refuse to move

After the inmates were sent to other care homes, they have all had harrowing tales of ill-treatment and unsanitary conditions to share.   | Photo Credit: B_VELANKANNI RAJ

“I would rather die here than die in misery and pain at the hospice,” said 61-year-old Muthammal, who with 20 others was shifted from the St. Joseph’s Hospice in Paleswaram, Kancheepuram, to another home in Vilvarayanallur, Madurantakam taluk.

Ms. Muthammal expressed her grief after the Madras High Court directing the Kancheepuram police to hand over custody of former residents of the hospice back to them. But she wasn’t alone; other inmates at the home too echoed her trauma and recalled their time at the hospice as ‘horror-filled.’ “We cannot go back there, they will kill us. Especially, now since they know that we have been vocal about their behaviour towards us,” said Mani, another former resident of the hospice.

Woes abound

After the district administration evacuated the premises and sent around 300 residents from the hospice to other homes last month, residents have all had harrowing tales of ill-treatment and unsanitary conditions to share. They described several disturbing incidents where they were badly beaten for seeking help, not allowed to move out of the wards, fed bland and tasteless food and not permitted to reach out to their families.


Also those who were not terminally ill were allegedly not provided the required medical care, thereby worsening their condition, which Fr. Thomas, the founder of the hospice had denied earlier. “We are all old now and all we need is peace. We are getting that here, why move us back there?” said Jose, a 71-year-old who was sent to the hospice after a road accident caused permanent injury to both his legs.

“We have not yet received directions to send them back yet but they are all strongly disagreeing to go back. We don’t know what to do,” said Rathika J, from the DGSE Association, where 21 Paleswaram residents were shifted. Several others, who were shifted to 17 care homes across the district, have expressed displeasure against the High Court order. Officials from the Social Welfare Department said that ever since the order was communicated, people have been condemning the move.

“I have been receiving several calls since noon from residents, wanting to talk to me. I have also visited a few homes, where a few even cried and requested me to not send them back. We are now talking to more people and collecting evidences, so that authorities could take appropriate action. They cannot be forcefully moved,” the official said.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 12:04:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/st-josephs-hospice-despite-order-they-refuse-to-move/article23367918.ece

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