A pregnant woman on a hospital bed being treated in the open in Madhya Pradesh.
A saline drip hanging by the branch of a tree under which she lay, a pregnant woman rushed to a government hospital in Madhya Pradesh for delivery was being treated in the open. Hospital staff strung the IV drip that Pooja had to be given on the tree under which she was told to lie on a metal-top bed outside, without a mattress or hospital linen.
It turns out the state-run hospital was overflowing with patients, literally.
The shocking incident, which occurred on Wednesday evening in Biaora, a town 150 km from the state capital Bhopal, has sparked outrage and forced the authorities to probe the circumstances under which this happened.
"We have seen the photographs that have emerged. I have issued notice to the nurse who was in-charge yesterday," Dr SS Gupta, who heads the 30-bed health facility, told NDTV.
He added that a pregnant woman who needed a saline drip should not have treated in the open "under any circumstances".
But Dr Gupta hinted that the nurse may not have had much of a choice.
For a hospital that had only 30 beds, the staff had to admit three times as many due to a spike in flow of patients suffering from different ailments. This means that patients had to share beds and the rest, had to huddle on the floor.
According to local health workers, incidents such as this serve as a stark reminder of the state's failure to expand public healthcare infrastructure in Madhya Pradesh as well as other parts of the country. According to official statistics, a hospital bed in a government health facilities serves 2661 people in Madhya Pradesh, which contrasts poorly with the national average of 2046 people.
Just a few months ago, a district hospital in neighbouring Chhattisgarh
hit the headlines because it turned away a pregnant woman because it had run out of beds. The woman was forced to deliver her baby under a tree in May.
In July, a woman ended up delivering a baby right outside a government-run multi-specialty hospital in Jaipur as the doctors failed to attend to her on time