Tipping becomes pain for maternity patients | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Tipping becomes pain for maternity patients

Even though the Lord Mahavira civil hospital offers childbirth deliveries free of cost to all expectant mothers, poor women who go there for the operation end up shelling out Rs 100 to Rs 500 or even more as “delivery expenses” disguised as a tip collected by the hospital staff.

punjab Updated: Aug 05, 2014 14:08 IST
Vandana Singh

Even though the Lord Mahavira civil hospital offers childbirth deliveries free of cost to all expectant mothers, poor women who go there for the operation end up shelling out Rs 100 to Rs 500 or even more as “delivery expenses” disguised as a tip collected by the hospital staff.

Sarabjit Kaur, who was admitted to the hospital’s maternity unit for labour, said, “I’ve noticed that after the birth of every child, the mother or her family members have to at first pay a ‘tip’ to the midwife, then the sweeper and often the other staff too. If the baby happens to be a boy the amount doubles.”

Ramesh Kumar, whose daughter-in-law gave birth to a boy, said, “My son is a rickshaw-puller and we naturally headed for the civil hospital for my daughter-in-law’s delivery. Barely had she been admitted to the maternity ward than the midwife asked for Rs 500 but then settled for Rs 200. Later a sweeper took Rs 50 from us. The hospital administration should see to it that the practice is prohibited so that poor patients don’t have to run up unbearable expenses.”

Economically underprivileged patients are not the only ones who have to put up with the menace of tipping.

An ASHA (accredited social health activist) worker who brought an expectant mother from Singhpura to the civil hospital said, “Though we tell pregnant women and their families that deliveries are done totally free of cost here, they say the hospital staff always demand money from them and they immediately pay up, fearing the staff otherwise won’t take proper care of their newborns.”

Kirandeep Kaur, state president of the ASHA workers union, noted, “This trend of asking patients for tips in cash is prevalent in governmentrun hospitals across the state. Though the union has made several efforts to stop this practice, nothing much can be done till the health department itself acts tough.”

Meanwhile, civil surgeon Dr Subhash Batta said in any case hospital staff members had no right to demand monetary tips from patients. “If this happens patients should file a written complaint with the hospital’s senior medical officer or any of the doctors. I’ll again ask the civil hospital senior medical officer to keep tabs on the staff and take stringent action if someone is found to have asked for a tip.”