The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shoved to death off hospital trolley Sweeper in hiding after Rs 100 row

Islampur, Feb. 20: A woman admitted to the subdivisional hospital here died last night after allegedly being pushed off a trolley by a sweeper who was refused Rs 100 that she had demanded from her family.

The relatives of Sadhna Debnath have lodged a complaint against the sweeper, Chameli Mullick, with Islampur police station.

Sadhna’s husband Nani Debnath said she had developed complications after giving birth to a girl at her home in Bhaispita village, about 28 km from Islampur, and was rushed to the hospital.

According to Nani, they reached the hospital at 11 pm but could not find a doctor or a nurse to attend to his wife who was writhing in pain.

“Some time later, the sweeper took my wife towards the labour room on a trolley, put her on saline and came back to ask for Rs 100. I told her I could not pay that much as I was carrying Rs 40. Hearing that I could not afford the money, she got very angry and began to abuse me,” said Nani, sobbing.

Mullick, who is now absconding, then allegedly slapped one of Nani’s relatives who had accompanied him. She then went back to Sadhna and pushed her off the trolley.

“I saw my wife falling in front of my eyes and I could not do anything. She died after a while,” said Nani, suddenly clamming up.

Supporters of the CPM’s youth wing, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), held a demonstration outside the hospital demanding that the sweeper be arrested and the doctor on duty charged with negligence.

CPM leader Subir Biswas and district DYFI secretary Abdul Karim alleged that patients were left unattended at the subdivisional hospital if their relatives did not part with money.

Ward master Ashok Sarkar claimed Chameli was in the hospital without his permission. Karim, however, said the duty register revealed that she was on duty till February 22.

Denying knowledge about the incident, hospital superintendent Hasibur Rehman said the patient was admitted in a serious condition and there had been no negligence on the part of the hospital.

“I do not know about any sweeper demanding money, for which she is said to have shoved the patient off the trolley. However, we are probing the allegations brought against the hospital and I can assure you that exemplary punishment will be meted out to anyone found guilty,” Rehman said.

“We are looking for the sweeper, who is absconding. The body of the woman has been sent for postmortem,” said circle inspector Rabin Gurung.

The demonstration, which continued till late in the evening, brought work inside the hospital to a standstill for several hours, causing harassment to patients.

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