Hyderabad: Unable to pay Rs 150 bribe to ward boys, man dies

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Duo refused to bring oxygen cylinder, that could have saved life.

Hyderabad: Thirty-year-old N. K. Krishnaya from Mahabubnagar died on Monday night and his relatives allege that he was not given oxygen by the ward boys at the Chest Hospital.

On their complaint, two ward boys, Dhanajay Raju and Mohammed Nadeem, were suspended by the hospital superintendent, Dr Sai Kumar, on Tuesday morning. The patient Krishnaya was suffering from bilateral tuberculosis and both his lungs had collapsed.

According to his wife K Lakshmi, who complained to the hospital, “The first oxygen cylinder given in the morning got over by one o’clock in the afternoon. We told the nurses and they instructed the ward boys to bring one more cylinder. But they (the ward boys) demanded Rs 150 for doing that. We said we have no money as we are poor. They didn’t get the cylinder at all and he died.”

Lakshmi also complained to the duty doctors who screamed at the ward boys and asked them to help the patient by getting the cylinder. But the ward boys didn’t listen to them either.

A senior doctor, on condition of anonymity, explained that “for work like this, the ward boys are in charge as they are the ones who pull the stretcher or move the cylinder from the store room to the ward. The patient came in a very severe condition and his wife was very restless. She asked the nurses to look at him because of his failing health. The nurses also instructed the ward boys to get the cylinder quickly. They complained to the resident medical officer about the behaviour of the ward boys.”

Ward boys are class IV employees and they demand bribes from every patie-nt’s relative. Those who pay the bribe, which starts at Rs 20, are looked after properly. This shocking practice is widely prevalent in government hospitals. After her husband’s demise, Lakshmi and other relatives refused to leave. They first lodged a complaint with the superintendent, Dr Sai Kumar.

“They have named both the ward boys in their complaint and we have suspended them,” said Dr Sai Kumar. “We are going to investigate the matter and find out what actually transpired. The patient came in a very critical condition as both lungs were completely damaged due to which he could not survive. But whether the cylinder got over by noon and why were the instructions of the RMO not followed will be investigated.”

Senior doctors leave the hospital around 2 pm and patients are then at the mercy of ward boys and nurses. Junior doctors and in-charge post-graduates present are unable to exert their authority over the ward boys who are said to rule over the hospital.

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