Fahmida said she had to drag her husband on the floor, as nurses refused to provide a stretcher without a payment of Rs 100.

Denied stretcher old woman drags her 71-year-old husband across Shivamogga hospital
news Apathy Friday, June 02, 2017 - 15:47

Despite multiple reports highlighting the saddening levels of apathy faced in government hospitals, cruel indifference continues to be the lot of patients in many places. 

In the latest case from Shivamogga’s government-run McGann District Hospital, an old woman had to drag her 71-year-old husband across the hospital after he was denied a stretcher.

On Friday, a video surfaced on WhatsApp showing a feeble Fahmida dragging her severely ill husband, Aamir Saab, along the floor of the hospital, while no one offers them any help.

Aamir was admitted to McGann Hospital nine days ago. According to Fahmida, Aamir was suffering from asthma.

“On Wednesday, the doctors said that my husband needs to get an X-Ray scan done. We waited for some time for the nurse to get us a stretcher or a wheel chair as my husband is disabled. When no one came to help him, I went to the nurse and asked her for a stretcher. She asked me Rs 100. I told her that I did not have a lot of money and she refused to help,” said Fahmida.

Distraught over the fact that she had no one to turn to, Fahmida decided to take Aamir to the X-Ray room herself.

On the way, Aamir fell down as Fahmida could not carry him any longer. “I am old and I don’t have a lot of strength. That’s why I had to drag my husband to the X-Ray room,” Fahmida added.

According to eyewitnesses, Fahmida pleaded with the nurses in the hospital for help, but no one came forward.

“This kind of treatment was faced not only by Fahmida but also by other patients. Three days ago, we brought my sister to the hospital as she was in labour. The staff there asked us Rs 100 for getting her on to a wheelchair and taking her into the hospital. If we don’t pay up, they leave us to fend for ourselves. What was more shocking was that the nurses ask for money for delivering the child. It is Rs 1,000 for a girl and Rs 1,500 for a boy. When we refused to pay, saying that services must be free in government hospitals, they refused to give my sister her baby. We paid Rs 1,000 and were leaving when I saw Fahmida drag her husband after pleading with the nurses,” said Fatima, an eyewitness.

This is not the first time government hospitals in Karnataka have shown such horrific apathy towards the patients

In May, visuals emerged from the Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) in the Hubballi district showing four pregnant women being ferried on a single stretcher.

Other horrifyingly similar videos of a man forced to move around on a tricycle and a child on oxygen support being carried in the arms of family members have also surfaced recently in other states.

Karnataka Health Minister KR Ramesh Kumar said that he has taken cognisance of the incident in Shivamogga and condemned the actions of the hospital staff.

“What happened in the hospital is unacceptable. The government will look into the matter and make sure that those responsible for this kind of apathy will be taken to task,” Ramesh Kumar said.

"The video was shot two days ago. I was not kept in the loop but now that I am aware of the situation, I have ordered an internal inquiry. There is no death of stretchers or wheelchairs in the hospital and I will take necessary action once I get a full picture of what transpired," said Dr Sushil Kumar, the Director of the hospital.

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