'Cultural case,' Dev says. 'The family ties here are so strong. The family just can't accept that there is no treatment. If I hadn't got the boys to operate last night the family would say: "Oh Neuro Hospital doesn't want to operate!" Can you imagine the situation? Next thing they take the patient out of my hospital and somebody else will operate. The patient will be a vegetable but the family are happy and my reputation will be rubbished...'
Dev turns to look at me.
'When I was the Minister of Health under the last king -- before the Maoists abolished the monarchy -- I saved more lives by making crash helmets for motorcyclists compulsory than I will ever save as a neurosurgeon. Most of the families are uneducated,' he goes on. 'They have no conception of brain damage. They are hopelessly unrealistic. They think that if the patient is alive they might recover, even if the patient is just about brain-dead. And even if they are brain-dead they still won't accept it.'