Yet another shocking case of medical apathy has come to light in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, this time from the Ramban town, where the government hospital refused to provide an ambulance to the relatives of a dead person to transport the body. A body of a middle-aged woman identified as Salochna Devi was brought to the district hospital Ramban for postmortem, but after performing all the legal medical formalities, the hospital staff refused to provide an ambulance to the relatives of the deceased to shift the body to their home. Add salt to the miseries of the poor relatives of the deceased, the hospital staff demanded money for fuel if they wanted to avail the services.
“The hospital staff clearly told us that we need to pay them for fuel if we want to avail the service, this despite it being a government hospital with four to five ambulances parked here”, Rakesh Kumar husband of the deceased said. He said that he was economically weak and had no money to pay the hospital for availing the ambulance services.
However, the police and the local residents later came to the rescue of Kumar as they arranged money by means of contribution to help him transport the body of his wife back to his house. Meanwhile, the hospital maintains that they don’t get sufficient funds for fuel to ferry the dead bodies from the hospital.
“The ambulances here are mostly for road accident victims who have to be either shifted to this hospital or to Jammu or Srinagar for specialized treatment. We don’t have any provision to shift the dead bodies from the hospital” Medical Superintendent of the Ramban District Hospital Dr. Dharam Vir Singh maintained.
This is not for the first time that such incident of medical apathy has come to light in the state of Jammu and Kashmir where people are forced to either carry their dead ones in cardboard boxes or pay the hospital staff to shift the critically injured patients to the hospital. The health department in the state faced criticism when earlier a hospital in Rajouri demanded ambulance charges from the parents of a child who was grievously injured due to Pakistani ceasefire violation.
Meanwhile, the health department has said that they will look into the allegations claiming that the ambulances at the hospital are at the discretion of the medical superintendent and he can ask the driver to get the needful done.
“This is shocking and won't be tolerated, the government doctors are supposed to show empathy towards the people who are in need of the facilities, in fact this is the tax payers money and it should be utilized for them. We will look into the allegations and see who was at fault” a senior officer of the health department said.