In a horrific incident that took place in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, a government-run hospital used a bus crash victim’s severed foot as a pillow. The photo of the man with his severed leg under his head went viral after it circulated on social media Saturday.
The graphic photo shows the man lying down in a stretcher with his foot used as a headrest. Hospital officials reportedly said Sunday that the two doctors linked to the incident were suspended and an investigation was underway. Administrators at the hospital also vowed “strict action” amid accusations of medical negligence.
“We have set up a four-member committee to find out who put the severed leg under the patient’s head,” Sadhna Kaushik, principal of the Maharani Laxmibai Medical College and Hospital in Jhansi, told Agence France-Presse. “Strict action will be taken if our staff is found at fault.”
The man, who was identified as 28-year-old bus conductor Ghanshyam, was seriously injured in an accident which occurred when he picked up students from a public school and reached a village, when a herd of stray cattle suddenly came in front of his vehicle. The driver lost control of the vehicle in an attempt to save the animals. The left leg of the bus conductor was badly injured and doctors amputated his leg to prevent the infection from spreading.
Ghanshyam’s relatives told the local NDTV news network that hospital staff ignored their requests that Ghanshyam, who was identified by his first name, be given a pillow.
“When we reached the hospital, we saw his leg being used as a headrest,” Janaki Prasad, a relative, told NDTV. “I repeatedly asked the doctors to intervene but they refused,” Prasad said, adding that eventually his relative bought a pillow from a local market. “There was no one to attend him. We had no choice but to take him to a private hospital.”
Responding to the incident, the principal of the medical college said the patient was given “immediate” medical attention and one of his relatives placed the leg under his head, adding that “the doctor looked for something to raise his head. The patient’s attendant used the leg.”
She also said that the severed leg could not be stitched back as the tissue was “already dead.”
Medical negligence is not uncommon in government run hospitals as these do not have proper equipment or face staffing and hygiene issues.
An Indian hospital was accused of negligence after a photo went viral showing a man lying down on a stretcher with his severed leg used as a pillow. This is a representational image showing medical stretchers abandoned along the corridors at a hospital in Kenya.Photo: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya