A 2-year-old boy in Bihar's Jehanabad district died on Saturday while he was being transported to a hospital on a motorcycle in the absence of an ambulance. His family says the boy was referred to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) by the local state-run hospital but the ambulance was not provided. This is the second such incident in the district in weeks.
The child, son of Sunil Manjhi, took ill on Saturday. Mr Manjhi and his wife brought him to the local Sadar Hospital for treatment. As his condition worsened, the doctors referred him to the Patna hospital. A family member has alleged that when they asked for an ambulance, the hospital administration asked them to call a phone number.
The poor family then decided to transport the ailing boy to Patna, around 50 km from Jehanabad, on the motorcycle. The boy died on the way near the district magistrate's office. Anguished with his son's death, Mr Manjhi banged his head to the wall of the top officer's house; his wife mourned the loss lying on the road.
Soon, senior district officials and the police arrived at the spot and arranged an ambulance for the family.
The hospital, however, says that Mr Manjhi had refused to take an ambulance.
"The child had come to the hospital in serious condition and was under proper treatment. There was no problem in the treatment. When his condition worsened, we asked his family to take him to the PMCH. The hospital had offered them an ambulance but they refused. They said they would first go to their home. I heard the patient died on the way on a motorcycle," Dr Vijay Kumar Sinha, Civil Surgeon, Jehanabad, said.
Earlier this month, a couple in Jehanabad was forced to walk with the body of their three-year-old son after the state-run hospital- where the child had died- could not provide an ambulance. Accusing the administration of apathy, the parents had said they could not ensure timely treatment of their child because no ambulances were available amid a nationwide lockdown over COVID-19.