Patna AIIMS Director tries to deflect blame, says girl may have died while father was taking her back home after seeing a long queue of patients
In a shocking case that exposes institutional apathy – even among premier medical centres – towards the poor, a nine-year-old daughter of a daily wage labourer reportedly died while her father waited for doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Patna to attend to her.
To add to the father’s horror, the hospital authorities allegedly denied providing him with a hearse van forcing him to carry the lifeless body of his daughter on his shoulders.
According to a report by news agency PTI, the incident happened on Tuesday when Ram Balak and his wife, residents of Kajra village in Lakhisarai district, brought their daughter Roshan to the Patna AIIMS to have her treated for high fever that she had been suffering from for the past six days.
Man carried daughter's body in #Patna in the absence of any ambulance claims family, says #AIIMS doctors didn't attend to the ailing girl. pic.twitter.com/HUCMjLNExm— ANI (@ANI) October 18, 2017
Ram Balak, a daily wage labourer alleged that he was directed by the staff to get a “parcha” (registration form) made at the hospital’s OPD counter. It is learnt that the agonized father had to plead with other people already standing in the OPD queue and even beg a hospital clerk to help him finish the formalities faster so that he could have his daughter treated but allegedly, no one paid heed to his requests.
When Ram Balak finally managed to reach the counter, he was reportedly refused help by the hospital employee who was in-charge of accepting the patient registration forms. As Ram Balak struggled to finish the formalities, Roshan allegedly succumbed to her fever, dying near the OPD entrance of the hospital.
The girl’s father then reportedly tried to convince the hospital authorities to provide him with a hearse van so that he could ferry his daughter’s dead body back but his request was allegedly turned down. With no money to hire a cab or a hearse van, Ram Balak was forced to carry Roshan on his shoulder and walk almost four kilometers to an auto-rickshaw stand in Phulwari Sharif area of Patna, where he was finally helped by some rickshaw drivers and bystanders to take his deceased daughter home.
If the struggle of Ram Balak – first, to have his daughter treated and then to carry her dead body with dignity – isn’t heart-wrenching enough, there’s more to this appalling saga.
Mujhe shanka h kab hui death? Kahin aisa to nahi ki lambi line dekhke mareez Khud Chala Gaya ho aur raaste mei death ho gyi?: Director AIIMS pic.twitter.com/JEa8kXPLh1— ANI (@ANI) October 18, 2017
Asked about the shocking incident, Dr Prabhat K Singh, director of AIIMS, Patna not only denied having knowledge of the entire episode but sought to deflect blame on Ram Balak for Roshan’s death.
“I am unable to understand what has happened. In fact nobody there came to know about it, how is it possible?” the AIIMS Director told news agency ANI.
“Mujhe shanka hai kab hui death? Kahin aisa to nahi ki lambi line dekhke mareez khud chala gaya ho aur raaste mein death ho gayi? (I have doubts about when the death happened. Is it not possible that the family went away seeing the long queue and the kid died on the way?)” Singh added further.
Even as various media channels highlighted the incident, the Bihar government maintained a studied silence on the issue while the state’s principle Opposition party, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) demanded a probe into the matter.
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