Meerut: All night, a young mother sat outside a hospital in Meerut, her young daughter's body next to her. She had no way to get home to her village, 50 kilometres away. A stranger offered her some money and advised her to call 108, the helpline for state-run ambulances.
- Young mother spent night outside hospital with dead baby.
- Ambulance helpline said it could not help transport them.
- Strangers helped her to hire a private car next morning.
When she got through, Irfana was told, "Ambulances are only for the living."
That was just one of the many inhumane acts that Irfana encountered on the night of September 1. Her daughter, Gulnad, had been running a fever for a month. The state-run hospital in Meerut said it needed between 5,000 and 10,000 rupees to organise blood for her treatment. Irfana and her husband, both daily wage labourers, couldn't afford that. Hours later, their daughter was dead.
"The doctor asked me to take my daughter away in our own vehicle. I fell at their feet and told them that I didn't have a vehicle. Ambulances were charging Rs 2,500. I barely had Rs 900 to spare," she told NDTV.
So all night, Irfana and her own mother crouched over their lost child, trying to figure out how to make the journey home. Strangers helped, and finally, they hired a car. Gulnad was buried on September 2 in Baghpat.
Her story comes just days after national outrage over the haunting pictures of a man in Odisha who walked 10 kilometres carrying his dead wife because the hospital where she was being treated refused to give him a hearse. The man walked with his young daughter sobbing by his side till journalists spotted them and organised an ambulance.
Irfana's home in the Newara village of Baghpat is barely a home at all. A cluster of tents made out of plastic, bamboo sticks and other material salvaged from other people's trash. Holding her one-year-old son Nazim close to her, Irfana weeps. "I had to beg and fall at people's feet just to bring my dead daughter home. She's gone now but I hope no one suffers the fate that she suffered," she says.