IN each misfortune there is a victim, and sometimes it is a human soul. I start this article by raising a question. Does a tragedy have to happen before concerned officials are prompted to act and respond? Today, I am repeating this question and will continue to repeat it several times.
Was it the recent death of an inmate at the Madinah Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center that prompted the Ministry of Social Affairs to act? Newspapers had earlier reported about the laxity of security at the gate of the Madinah Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center which eventually made it possible for the disabled inmate to escape from the facility.
Such shelter homes are full of stories of negligence. Journalists and writers are fed up of giving detailed reports about incidents taking place at such centers which are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Social Affairs.
A host of such incidents have been reported from rehabilitation centers from various cities across the Kingdom. Negligence is the hallmark of these rehabilitation centers coupled with ill-treatment meted out to inmates.
Unfortunately, it took the death of a patient to get the ministry to act. A fact-finding committee was set up to explore the incident.
Punitive measures were taken against the director of the center as well as against a nurse and supervisors of the shift during which the inmate wandered off.
The facility’s rear gate guard and a driver were also punished.
Disciplinary action was also taken against the contracting company that was tasked with personal care, general cleanliness and maintenance of the center for its negligence. These are measures aimed at addressing negligence and deficiencies that were prevalent even before the death of the inmate.
All these actions have been taken after the death of an inmate. Was it not possible to take such steps before the death of that man? I am confident that had this issue not been given wide media coverage and the subsequent directive of Emir of Madinah to carry out an immediate probe into the incident, it would have been dismissed as the fault of the deceased inmate!
The problem is that such unfortunate incidents often repeat themselves because of one simple reason – negligence.