“Go get a referral from the Chief Medical Officer’s office and then only we can admit the patient,” said receptionist at the Integral Medical College Hospital in Lucknow to Rohitas Karan whose father Rajendra Karan was gasping for breath. He had covid like symptoms. Rohitas did not wait for the ambulance and brought his father to hospital with a hope to get treatment.
But here he was curtly asked to bring a referral slip.
Before he could get a referral from CMO office or could get his father admitted to another hospital Rajendra Karan died in his car at the door steps of the hospital waiting for treatment.
Rajendra was a dear friend of mine. He was Khaloo chacha for all – be it 70 years old man or 7 year old boy. I was not in touch with him for many years so never knew he was ill. His wife Sarla called me today to help her two sons to get a referral from the CMO office.
“Unki tabiyat bahut kharab hai,” she said, her voice laced with fear.
Why this referral system? Isn’t this cruel? For me it is like denying treatment to the patients. There are reports that hundreds of patients have died either at the gate of the hospital or at the stairs of the CMO office waiting for the referral slip from the CMO.
This is disgusting … why cannot the government allow hospitals to take in patients if they have beds instead of putting them in the rigmarole of red tape. Doctors working in hospitals are competent enough to judge whether a patient needs immediate admission or not. Aren’t they?
A Doctor, whom I contacted to get Khaloo chacha admitted in a private hospital said that they are not allowed to take patients without the referral slip. “We know this is a draconian procedure and is against the spirit of imparting treatment to the patients. We have seen patients dying in the waiting area … but we cannot help because they do not have the referral slip,” he said.
Government argues that this system has been put in place for the convenience of the people. They should first register their patient in an allotted number and once they get clearance then only they should take their patient to the designated hospital.
Theoretically it sounds good. But practically it is not prudent. If someone fall sick in family and if his condition deteriorates, the first reaction will be to take him to hospital rather than waiting for registration.
This government should show sensitivity towards people and make the procedure more simple so that life of people like Khaloo chacha could have been saved.
Pix: Rajendra Karan with his painting of Atal Bihari Vajpayee