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‘The doctors kept on laughing, joking’

Doctors at hospital in Shastri Park refuse treatment of minor girl saying it is their off day, reports Jaya Shroff Bhalla.

delhi Updated: Mar 10, 2009 00:32 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla
Jaya Shroff Bhalla
Hindustan Times

Seeing her daughter’s eight-day-old bruised fingers turning bluish red, Rukhsana Begum panicked and rushed Anjum, 4, to the emergency services at Jagjiwan Chandra Hospital in Shastri Park. But the doctors asked her to come on Monday, during the OPD hours, as Sunday was an off day for them.

“After an auto rickshaw ran over her fingers, the driver had taken her to a local physician who bandaged the wound. When we took her for a follow-up, the doctor refused to treat her as her condition had worsened. Scared, I took her to the Shastri Park hospital, which is five minutes from my home, but fearing the long wait, I got her home and tried home remedies,” said Rukhsana, a single mother of five, who works as a domestic help.

“Yesterday when my daughter started howling with pain, I again took her to the same hospital. After initially scolding me for bringing her so long after her accident, they asked me to come on Monday, saying they would not treat her as it was Sunday,” she said.

Zainab Begum, their neighbour, also an eyewitness to the entire episode, said, “The doctors were laughing and joking. They clearly did not want to treat her. It wasn’t even late. We had reached the hospital at 4.00 p.m. but they kept giving excuses. We finally took the child to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, which is about 15 kilometres from here.”

While the two-year-old Delhi government run Shastri Park hospital looks plush and neat from the outside, the services indoors are horrifying.

Anjum wasn’t the only one refused treatment. One-year-old baby Musa, suffering from acute pneumonia, was also turned away.

“I kept begging them to admit my boy, as he could not breathe but they refused to take him in,” said Talat Begum. The Seelampur resident finally had to take her ailing baby to another government hospital, Chacha Nehru Bal Chitiksalayaya in Geeta Colony. But by then his condition had deteriorated and he to be put in the ICU.

“This was the closest hospital so we got him here, but no point. The government should first make sure that they have enough manpower and facilities to run hospitals before inaugurating them. These fancy structures are only a waste of money,” she said.

However when Dr MD Chauhan, medical superintendent, Jagjiwan Chandra Hospital in Shastri Park was contacted, she said, “While there is a small problem of manpower, but we run emergency services on Sunday. I shall look into the incident and will conduct an inquiry.”

“I also intend to issue memos to the erring doctors,” she said.