Unable to pay bribe for wheelchair, patient uses toy tricycle
Hyderabad: The state-run Gandhi Hospital authorities constituted a committee to probe into the allegations that a patient was denied wheelchair for being unable to pay "bribes."
In absence of the wheelchair, the patient, with severe mobility problems, has been left moving around in the hospital for treatment, on a kids' tricycle of his son, that his wife brings to the hospital while visiting it with him.
S Raju in his 40s had been visiting the hospital for a follow-up treatment for the burn injuries that he had suffered due to electrical shock last August.
His wife Santoshi alleged as she did not have money to pay "tips" to the ward-boys, he was not being given wheelchairs and had to use a tricycle to move around in the hospital.
Santoshi said they had been coming to the hospital for the treatment and the doctors had told her that her husband, a painter, needs to undergo surgery. But the hospital authorities, she said, have been postponing it on various pretexts, including the paucity of beds.
She further said as ward-boys had been demanding Rs 100 to Rs 200 for providing wheelchair, she had been bringing their son's tricycle to the hospital during their visits.
"At least on five to six occasions I paid the amount. But, on Wednesday, I was not able to pay because I did not have the money. I brought this tricycle to the hospital and made my husband sit on it to move around in the hospital premises for treatment," said Santoshi, who stays in Begumpet area here.
She further alleged "they are creating problems... It is such a big government hospital.. They should help."
"Earlier my husband underwent treatment at the hospital for almost 100 days and I had to spend for getting injections and bed covers," said Santoshi.
Meanwhile, Gandhi Hospital's superintendent Dr Manjula told PTI "We have not got any written complaint from the attendants' of the patient. However, on the basis of media reports, we have constituted an enquiry committee to look into the matter.
"A report is likely to be submitted within a day. Based on the report, the necessary action will be initiated against those responsible for the incident."
Dr Manjula said the patient, who had suffered electric burns, had undergone treatment at the hospital for over three months and he himself got discharged against the medical advise, though he had been visiting the hospital as outpatient.
"Now he is on a follow up medication and next week he is again scheduled to come to the hospital," she said.
Responding to the incident, Telangana Minister K T Rama Rao said he spoke to the Superintendent of the Hospital to enquire about the incident.
"My office contacted the family and we will ensure they are helped," he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Medical Education Director, Dr Ramani said there was no necessity for this patient to use a tricycle as the hospital has enough wheelchairs and trolleys.
"He himself came with the toy vehicle... Presuming that anybody may ask for money or he may not get a wheelchair," Dr Ramani said pointing out that "There are 150 wheelchairs and 200 trolleys (at the hospital) which are always kept near the OP and casualty areas. There is no question that he was denied a wheelchair."
"When he went on the first floor of the hospital to meet the plastic surgeon he was on a wheelchair. By Monday he will be allotted a bed (for surgery). He went to his house against medical advice and got discharged, though he kept coming to the hospital as part of follow up treatment and for surgery," Dr Ramani added.