An elderly patient was allegedly tied to a bed at a private hospital in Madhya Pradesh over non-payment of medical bills, prompting the state government to order a probe and stern action in the matter.
While the hospital, located in Shajapur city, denied tying the patient for non-payment of bills, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, taking note of media reports in this regard, promised strict action against the "cruel" act.
According to reports in a section of media, the patient, hailing from Ranayda village in neighbouring Rajgarh district, was tied to the hospital bed for not settling the final bill and his daughter was not allowed to take him home.
Taking serious note of it, Chouhan in a tweet said, "We have taken into cognisance the matter of a senior citizen being treated in a cruel manner in a hospital. The accused persons will not be spared and strict action will be taken."
Newly-appointed Shajapur collector Dinesh Jain, who took charge on Saturday, has ordered a probe which is being conducted by sub-divisional magistrate S L Solanki.
When contacted, Solanki said the probe report would be submitted to the collector by Sunday evening.
However, City Hospital director Dr Varun Bajaj said the 65-year-old patient, who is claimed to be around 80 years old in media reports, was discharged on Friday 'without taking the due amount'.
"The patient was having intestinal problems and in order to administer the medicine, his legs were tied to the bed while his hands were held by his family during the process," Bajaj claimed.
He said police were informed after those attending the patient expressed inability to pay the bill and insisted on taking him home.
The patient's daughter, who was with him in hospital, could not be contacted for comments.
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath termed the incident as 'inhuman and barbaric'.
'During corona pandemic, private hospitals are looting patients and doing things the way they like. Strict action should be taken against the accused,' Nath tweeted.
'His (patient's) daughter alleged the hospital had tied her father with ropes with the bed as they are unable to pay the bill. It is inhuman and barbaric,' he added.
However, the Indian Medical Association's (IMA) district secretary Dr Praveen Singh Gohil said if the Shajapur administration takes action in the matter on the basis of media reports, they will strongly protest against it.
Gohil said an IMA member must be part of the probe team.