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Neglect cry triggers hospital clash

Patna, Sept. 7: Just a day after attendants and friends of a patient, Mehtab Alam, got into a scuffle with employees of Ruban Emergency Hospital off SP Verma Road over payment of medical bills, a similar incident rocked Ishwar Dayal Memorial Hospital at Hanuman Nagar under Patrakar Nagar police station today.

Aggrieved over the death of four-year-old Saloni Kumari, her relatives clashed with hospital authorities, accusing the latter of negligence.

Saloni, who was suffering from jaundice, was transferred to the hospital from Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), because her relatives were not satisfied with the treatment at the latter. Saloni’s condition worsened in the wee hours and she was declared dead around 6am. Peeved, her family members started protesting, which gradually snowballed into a major clash with the hospital authorities.

Sources said around 11am, her relatives gathered scores of people and led an attack on the hospital. During the next half-an-hour, the hospital turned into a battlefield with the angry mob ransacking the hospital. In the meleé, the local residents also lent support to Saloni’s relatives in the attack on the hospital, smashing glass windowpanes and also damaging the furniture.

Dr D.N. Prasad, the director of the hospital, told The Telegraph: “The girl was admitted on September 4 after the family members were not satisfied with the treatment being provided at the Patna Medical College and Hospital. The patient died this morning and the cost of treatment came to Rs 20,000. However, the family members had deposited only Rs 2,000. When the hospital authorities demanded the balance amount, the family members blamed the hospital authorities for the death of the patient and refused to pay that.”

Sources said in the ensuing scuffle, several persons suffered injuries. Based on complaints registered by both the parties, the Patrakar Nagar police have lodged an FIR against both the parties.

A senior police officer at Patrakar Nagar police station said: “Police have lodged an FIR against both the parties based on the complaints. Two persons from the hospital have also been arrested in this connection.” The police also seized a rifle and eight hockey sticks from the hospital premises and have launched an investigation in the case.

The back-to-back incidents of violence in two days have raised serious concerns over the implementation of the Medical Protection Act that bestows more powers to private nursing homes.

A few months ago, the state cabinet had given green light to the Medical Service Institution and Personal Protection Bill and Clinical Establishment (registration and regulation) Act.

The Medical Service Institution and Personal Protection Bill is aimed at providing legal protection to doctors. The medical protection bill has made an attack on doctors a cognisable offence and those indulging in vandalism against doctors and nursing homes would have to pay double the amount of damage caused during the protest.

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