ALLEGEDLY DENIED an ambulance, a 37-year-old man carried his sick wife in a handcart for around 8 km to reach Maharaja Tej Singh District Hospital in Mainpuri on Monday. The woman, however, was declared brought dead on arrival at the hospital. Again allegedly denied a hearse van, the husband took the body home on the handcart that he uses to sell vegetables at Hariharpur village.
Kanhaiya Lal said his wife Soni (35) complained of breathlessness on Monday morning. “I called up an ambulance to go to the hospital. But when it did not arrive, I took her to the hospital in my handcart. The doctors said she had died. When I requested the hospital for a vehicle to return with the body, no one responded… So, I put the body on the handcart and returned home,” he alleged but did not specify which ambulance service he had called. His mother accompanied him in the journey.
When asked whether Lal had called up the government’s ‘108 ambulance’ service and received no response, Principal Secretary (Medical Health) Prashant Trivedi replied in the negative. “A probe conducted by Mainpuri DM Pradeep Kumar has found that the person did not make any call to the ‘108 ambulance’ service… He might have called the hospital or some other number… He is very poor and does not even have a phone… The incident is unfortunate,” he told The Indian Express.
“However, it is true that while returning home, he had asked for an ambulance but the hospital employees, who should have guided him on how to get a hearse van, did not do so,” he added.
Following the probe, hospital eye surgeon Dr Praveen Kumar Jha (also the nodal officer for hearse vans) and chief pharmacist Harnath Singh (in charge of the emergency ward) have been asked to provide an explanation. “Departmental action would be taken against them if necessary,” Trivedi said.
The hospital, too, has set up a team of two doctors to probe the allegations. However, refuting the DM’s report, hospital Chief Medical Superintendent R K Sagar said Lal did not ask the hospital staff for a hearse van. “Today, we visited the family… When I asked the man why he did not call on the phone numbers written on the hospital walls or followed the steps mentioned there to get the vehicle, the man said he did not know about this.”
“Whenever a patient dies at the hospital, we provide a hearse to the attendant. In cases of accidents, we send the body for postmortem and then provide transportation to take the body home. Sometimes, there are some limitations to arrange for a hearse, but this was not the case in this incident. We could have provided a vehicle but there was no communication from the other side (husband),” he added.
Sagar said that at present, the hospital has three ambulances, two of which are used to bring in patients in a critical condition. “The other ferries patients referred to other hospitals.” “The man said his wife died when he reached near the hospital’s emergency ward gate. He also said that the patient was undergoing treatment for a heart ailment in Saifai for the last six months,” he added. When contacted, Additional Chief Medical Officer Dr Rajiv Rai maintained that “there was some carelessness in the incident”. Soon another probe will be ordered by the CMO, he added.