In a stark reminder of the apathy towards poor patients in government hospitals, an injured patient of the state-run Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad was seen using a toy tricycle to move around after he was denied a wheelchair, allegedly because he could not pay bribes.
The man was seen on Friday morning, and a video of the patient using a tricycle to move around the hospital went viral on social media.
The patient, S Raju, a resident of Begumpet, had reportedly suffered burn injuries after sustaining an electric shock in August last year and went to the hospital for follow-up check-up.
Raju’s wife, Santoshi, has alleged that ward-boys had been demanding Rs 100 for providing wheelchair, but she did not have money to pay the bribe.
“My husband lost the use of his legs after the accident last year. For the last 100 days, he has been admitted at Gandhi Hospital for treatment. He was put on the sixth floor, so every time we asked for a wheelchair the ward boy asks for Rs 50 or Rs 100. On Friday, we brought my child's tricycle to help him move around without having to pay a bribe,” Santoshi told Times of India.
She also claimed that even though Raju needs to undergo surgery, doctors have been postponing it due to non-availability of blood in the hospital.
“I lost my job due to the accident, I am not able to buy essential commodities for my family or myself. How can I pay Rs. 100 every time for the wheelchair? I got my son's tricycle for moving within the hospital,” Raju told TOI.
However, the superintendent of Gandhi Hospital, Dr. Manjula, has claimed that she has not received any written complaint from the the patient.
Meanwhile, the hospital authorities have constituted a committee to probe into the allegations made by the patient.
"A report is likely to be submitted within a day. Based on the report, the necessary action will be initiated against those responsible for the incident." Dr. Manjula told Deccan Chronicle.
Telangana Minister K T Rama Rao also reacted to the incident and reportedly spoke to the Superintendent of the Hospital to enquire about the incident.
Later he tweeted saying, “My office contacted the family and we will ensure they are helped.”
My office contacted the family & will ensure they are helped https://t.co/9P2D6vuP1y— KTR (@KTRTRS) March 17, 2017
This incident comes after two ward boys had been recently suspended in another state-run hospital, Chest Hospital in Hyderabad, for allegedly demanding bribe from the family members of a tuberculosis patient.
A 25-year-old patient, Krishna Naik, died after he was allegedly not provided oxygen in time by ward boys at the Government TB and Chest Hospital in Erragadda.
The relatives have alleged that the ward boys were specifically instructed, multiple times, to get a fresh oxygen tank for the patient on Monday, but refused to do so unless they were paid a bribe of Rs 150 for the task.