Sunday, October 10, 2010

A sad ending to the evening in Pokhara

Pokhara is a stunning little city that is ringed by dramatic rocky peaks covered in snow.  the anapurna range is black rocks and makes a sensational contrast for the white snow.  Our hotel for the night (Fishtail Lodge) was accessible only by a hand drawn pontoon across a lake, and is so sympathetic to the environment that it is completely invisible from the banks of the river.
A lovely dinner in Pokara turned sour when we witnessed a motorcyclist try to run from a police blockade.  Sadly, he didn't see a parked black car and ran straight into the back of it.  No helmet and no protective gear guaranteed significant injuries.  As is so often the case in this part of the world, a large crowd gathered and were quite content to simply watch the chap bleed to death.  No one offered any form of assistance, including the Police. 
We organised a taxi to take the chap to the hospital.  The Pokhara Hospital is somewhere that I hope none of us ever need.  arrival at the hospital was met with polite disinterest, and the triage nurses were attempting to simply pull the injured chap from the car to get him on a gurney.  It took a combination of cajoling and threatening to get them to find and fit a neck brace.  His clothes were cut away with a pair of rusty shears before treatment could start.  Eventually an orthopaedic surgeon arrived, and wasn't able to get any reflex response below the waist.  A cat scan was required but the machine was broken (surprise, surprise).  We left as they were trying to arrange a transfer to another hospital.  Given the standard of the ambulances and the roads, his chances are not good.
This is a good reminder of how carelessly life is treated here, and that quite a simple incident can have tragic consequences given the lack of medical care.