THE death of eight injured persons at the Muzaffargarh District Headquarters Hospital for lack of medical attention on Wednesday is a tragic incident, made more poignant and crueller by the circumstances under which the neglect occurred. Reportedly, when the Medical Superintendent pulled up a technician for staying away from work without intimation for six days, there ensued an angry exchange of words between the doctors and the paramedical staff, ending up with strikes by both. As a result, out of the 17 patients, most of them brought to the hospital with floods-related injuries, eight breathed their last. Muzaffargarh has been one of the worst affected districts in the country, where the raging floods had made escape from the ravaged areas a real hard task. For anyone, who somehow managed to get out of the trouble spots to a safer place, to die just because of neglect makes it a double tragedy. One can imagine the anger and frustration of the family whose breadwinners might have been the victims of this medical neglect after having been admitted into a hospital where the best possible attention was expected. The record floods directly affecting millions of people from one end of the country to the other, the inadequate availability of doctors, medicines and basic medical equipment, and the sadder aspect of an agonisingly slow response of the authorities, have already taken their toll. And it is hard to overcome the fear, being universally expressed, that a bigger calamity in the shape of disease and death lies in waiting unless a miracle takes place. It is time the government provided proper and quick medical relief as well, apart from attending to the basic question of rescuing the marooned. The Muzaffargarh hospital incident necessitates a quick departmental inquiry (that has already been ordered and hopefully the report would be presented today) so that steps are taken for the hospital to start its normal functioning. But the guilty as a consequence of whose action the deaths occurred must not be let off without punishment. At the same time, the tragedy points to a deeper malady that any investigation is likely to identify as 'a nation under pressure. Our nerves remain constantly frayed, and there are obvious reasons for it: difficult living conditions exemplified by rampant insecurity, runaway inflation compounded by joblessness, overcrowding in towns and cities, long distances to traverse with chaotic traffic and virtually no public transport; the list is endless Nothing but a visionary leadership could set things right