OTHER THAN treatment, King George’s Medical University (KGMU) has got another business with the patients.
The deal is with the dead patients and the business is so competitive that rivals openly fight for almost each body that comes out of the wards.
Drivers of the hearses parked outside the wards fight and often pull out dead bodies from each other’s vans to put it in their vehicle for the last journey.
While those dead can’t get up to stop the fight, the bereaved family members are compelled to watch the bodies being pulled and dragged from one vehicle to another. One such incident occurred late on Friday night, outside the KGMU Trauma Centre. A patient died here after three days of treatment and his family members brought out the body to take it home. As the body came out of the building, four drivers rushed towards it.
Each of the drivers attempted to convince the family that his rates were the lowest. Before the family members could utter a word, the drivers’ debate turned into a scuffle and the place into a battleground.
The fight continued for half an hour while the drivers fought with the dead body kept on the road. At last, one of the drivers managed to pull the body into his vehicle for Rs 450 as fare till Baikunth Dham.But this was not the first such incident that occurred here. Such fights can be seen daily, outside the emergency ward, the mortuary and the Trauma Centre.
On an average, 10 bodies come out every day and half of them land up in such disputes.
The difference in the rates offered is not much. Most of the drivers charge Rs 500 while some cover the same distance for Rs 450 or Rs 400, just to grab the client.
But the fight starts so quickly that it is difficult for the family to stop it .
Patients coming here usually belong to poor families so they easily get trapped with cheaper offers and hence face the drivers’ fights.
“We have written to the local cops several times to disperse these vehicles that create more problems than facilitate people but nothing has been done,” said incharge of the Trauma Centre Dr AA Mahdi, adding, “Since they are parked outside the campus we can not chase them away.”
At times, it becomes embarrassing for the family members watching the drivers fight over their dead relatives for an amount as meagre as Rs 50.Interestingly, some of the KGMU hospital employees are also involved in running these vehicles.