In a shocking incident, a 10-month-old baby died in a Uttar Pradesh government hospital in Bahraich allegedly after he was not given timely treatment by the staff as his parents could not pay the bribe demanded by them, triggering an outrage that prompted Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to remove the chief medical superintendent.
The infant's father, Shivdutt, a daily wage earner, alleged that Krishna died because the hospital staff delayed administering a crucial injection to him and wasted time demanding a bribe for providing treatment.
The victim's family also alleged that the infant was given "a wrong injection" by the nurse leading to his death on the morning of August 9 in the Bahraich district hospital, 130 km from Lucknow.
Taking serious note of the incident, the chief minister issued an order removing the CMS, an official spokesman said in Lucknow.
Akhilesh said that the government was committed to providing better medical facilities to the people and warned that stern action will be taken against insensitive doctors who ignore patients.
Taking suo motu cognizance of the incident, the National Human Rights Commission issued a notice to the UP government acting on the basis of media reports.
The NHRC notice was issued to the principal secretary of the health and family welfare department seeking a report within four weeks.
Timely treatment in this case, could have saved a precious human life, the NHRC said, adding that the incident raises serious issue of violation of right to life of poor patients, who cannot afford expensive treatment at private hospitals.
As the incident came to light, the state government swung into damage-control mode with Minister of State for Health SP Yadav directing the district magistrate to conduct an inquiry and send him the report within 24 hours.
Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati attacked the Uttar Pradesh government over the incident.
Talking to reporters in Delhi, she demanded action against the culprits.
She alleged that such incidents as well as atrocities against dalits have increased during the tenure of the Samajwadi Party government.
Shivdutt said his son was down with high fever and he had admitted him in the district hospital on August 7 for treatment after paying Rs 100 to the nurse and Rs 30 to a sweeper for securing a bed in the children's ward.
He said after a doctor asked the couple to admit the child, the nurse was allegedly the first to demand extra money to arrange the medical papers.
Next, it was the sweeper at the children's ward who asked for a bribe to place the child on the bed that was allotted to them. He also alleged that his son was not given proper treatment by the nurse who gave him a wrong injection after which he died.
The infant's mother alleged that on Tuesday morning a medical assistant asked them for money to get a crucial injection for Krishna.
"I asked him to give me some time...I promised to give him whatever amount he asked for," Sumita said.
The minister termed the incident as an isolated one.
"We will take action on the basis of the report. Whosoever is guilty...be it paramedical staff, doctor or any other employee, he or she will not be spared," Yadav said.
"It is a sad incident. At the same time it is an isolated incident. Government hospitals in the state are doing their work. Sometimes there are reports of negligence, but this is an isolated case," he said.
"Chief Medical Superintendent of the district hospital OP Pandey instituted an inquiry against nurse Asha Singh by a panel of three doctors. She has been removed from the ward," he said, adding the sweeper, who took money, has been sacked.
The chief medical superintendent, however, ruled out administration of wrong injection, saying it was an antibiotic injection and there was nothing wrong in it.
Issuing the notice, the NHRC also observed that the incident raises serious issue of violation of right to life of poor patients, who approach the government hospitals for treatment.
The government hospitals are approached by general public, especially the poor people, who cannot afford expensive treatment at private hospitals, it said.
Timely treatment in this case, could have saved a precious human life, the commission note.