Three-year-old Neeraj Berma (name changed) has a nerve protrusion on his neck and needs a surgery, but he has been told to go home and come back two years later.
“On October 2, we were asked to come back for surgery in September 2011,” said his mother Madhu Berma, 28, who lives in an unauthorised colony near the posh Maharani Bagh neighbourhood in South Delhi.
“I have a choice between letting my son suffer for two years or take him to a private hospital, where they will charge us at least Rs 80,000.”
The case of the Bermas is not an aberration. Three other patients who need neurosurgery were given dates between August and September 2010.
Two were asked to come the next day for a date, while two others were not offered any dates at all.
Muhammad Shagir (28) from Bulanshahar is one of them.
He needs a date for his newborn son’s spinal surgery but has been turned away six times in one month.
“I can’t get a surgery date till I don’t get an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) done. Today, I was given a date for MRI for November 11,” said Shagir, who works as a daily wage labourer in an embroidery factory.
“The nerve protrusion in my son’s spine is getting bigger every day. What if he does not survive till November?”
He earns about Rs 150 a day and supports a family of six. “The two-day trip (to Delhi) and other expenses will cost me at least Rs 5,000 and then another trip for surgery. From where will I get the money?” he said.