Published on: November 14, 2011

Do you know what a bystander is?

It is an Indian phenomenon.

A relative who endlessly stands by anyone who is admitted to hospital. By definition, he/she is not expected to sit down, let alone lie down. Most hospitals will not permit more than one of the species to be with the patient, and that person will always be busy.

Nazeem Beegum

This dreadful title is another way of depersonalising a human being, and the medical system is hardly aware of the implied insult.

Nazeem Beegum, a Dubai-based journalist, posted the following on Facebook – an excerpt from a manuscript:

“Where is Sainaba’s bystander?”

Each time nurses used the word bystander, I wished them to address me as Sainaba’s daughter.

But they never cared for my feelings.

And why should they? They are seeing hundreds of bystanders each day.But why dont they at least think they too will be called as a bystander by someone, someday?

They repeatedly called me bystander before the doctor even though thay made friendship with me. I wondered why they want to punish me for nothing.

After all, how long I can be called in the presence of my mother as her daughter!

If I was in my usual self, I would have picked up a quarrel with them for not showing mercy towards all those bystanders who care their dear ones.

But as the situation was not meant for creating ugly situations in front of an ailing mother, I gulped down all my frustration without a complaint and rushed to them waiting for their next word like a  lifeless rock.

I still dont understand why our hospitals call a person who cares their dear ones as bystander? Why dont they use the word carer instead of bystander?

Will someone answer, please? Nazeem is waiting.

Follow Nazeem on her blogTwitter @nancynazeem & Facebook

One response to “Where is the Bystander?”

  1. Kurnia Ito says:

    Perhaps the nurses are too busy doing tremendous task caring for the sick .
    Somehow they also may get used to see human illness n suffering.
    This can not be denied as one primary factor that can erode human sensitivity .
    Forgive them.Bring them publication of Pallium India. Then they will gradually turn to be human again instead medical robot …. From Bali with much empathy
    Bali Cancer Care Community
    Ms Kurnia Ito.