The parents of a 10-month-old boy who died in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday allege that they were asked for bribes by every employee they encountered, including the man who was to administer a crucial injection to the infant.
The child died because the injection was delayed, said his mother Sumita Dutt, sobbing with his body in her arms outside the hospital in Bahraich, 130 km from state capital Lucknow.
The hospital has denied the allegations, but has ordered an inquiry and sacked one of the bribe-takers.
Sumita and Shiv Dutt, who live in a village near Bahraich, had brought their son Krishna to the children’s ward at the biggest government hospital in the town. The child had high fever and weakness.
After a doctor asked the couple to admit the child, a nurse was allegedly the first to demand extra money to get documents in order.
Next, alleges Sumita, it was the sweeper at the children’s ward who asked for a bribe to place the child on the bed that was allotted to them.
On Tuesday morning, Sumita says, a medical assistant came over and asked for money to fetch a crucial injection, even though the hospital doesn’t charge for it.
“I asked him to give me some time…I promised to give him whatever amount he asked for,” says Sumita.
After an argument, the assistant did fetch the injection, but it was too late to save the child, say the parents.
“Every staff member wanted a bribe. Only the doctors don’t ask because they have private practice. I think one should sell one’s land and go to a private hospital,” said Shiv Dutt, who works as a labourer.
The parents have not gone to the police after the hospital’s assurance that their complaint would be investigated.
“There was no delay in giving injections,” says OP Pandey, doctor in-charge at the Bahraich district hospital. “The main complaint was that bribes were asked for during admission by a nurse and sweeper. We have removed the sweeper and transferred the nurse and an inquiry is underway.”