In Ahmedabad, if you are a patient but not a foreigner, don’t expect to hog your favorite chicken soup for quicker recovery. As per an exclusive report published by Ahmedabad mirror, private hospitals in Ahmedabad will serve non-veg food to you, only if you are not an Indian! If you ask for non-veg food, you will be asked to shift to the international ward of the hospital.
When the hospitals were questioned about the discrimination, they said in their defense that the hospitals serve vegetarian food to Indian patients ‘to respect the sentiments of the majority’, but make an exception for foreign patients ‘as they aren’t used to vegetarian food’. The restrictions are such that patients or their family members are not allowed to consume non-veg food, even when brought from home.
As per reports, opposing the unfair policy, bank officer JK Nair (49), whose wife was recently hospitalized, says, “This is discrimination, plain and simple. We cannot be treated as second-grade people in our own country for something as rudimentary as our food choices. If hospitals think it is okay for a foreign patient to consume non-vegetarian food, then on what grounds do they have to deny us the same option?”
On allowing non-vegetarian food only to foreigners, Dr. Anish Chandarana, executive director of CIMS hospital clarifies, “It is hard for international patients to sustain a vegetarian diet as they are not used to it. Hence, we get it for them from hotels. The reason why hospitals have adopted a vegetarian- only policy for Indians is because 80% of patients tend to be vegetarian and they may have a very strong emotional reaction to people who eat non-vegetarian food around them.”
While the fairness of this rule is yet undecided, we can assume that the majority doesn’t seem to be in support of it because food choices are personal. Discontent over the discrimination, Mohammed Jamaluddin (52), an engineer whose nephew has been hospitalized for 10 days, said, “The hospital may not want to cook non-vegetarian food in its kitchen but they should at least allow us to bring it from home. We respect other people’s feelings. We can eat it in a secluded corner or in our room with our relatives. I have been to hospitals in Mumbai and they do not have any such restrictions. No one should be deprived of the basic freedom to eat what they want.”