Two staff suspended after hospital’s failure to help a man take his wife’s body to the hearse

Balakrushna Kanhar carried the corpse over two flights of stairs

Two employees at the Kandhamal district headquarters hospital in Odisha were placed under suspension after a man was forced to carry his wife’s body on his own without help from hospital staff.

Balakrushna Kanhar, belonging to Kandh tribe of Motingia village under Phiringia Block, had admitted his wife to the hospital on June 29. She was suffering from severe anaemia and respiratory distress. She breathed her last on Thursday (July 1). When the man wanted his wife’s body to be carried up to the hearse, no one from the hospital came forward to help him.

With much difficulty, Mr. Kanhar carried his wife’s body from the bed and went down the stairs from the female ward on the second floor. He found a stretcher on the ground floor and, after the placing the body, dragged it to the hearse. The vehicle driver too refused a helping hand to lift the body into the vehicle.

He finally had to take help of his ailing father, who was carrying Mr. Kanhar’s two-year-old daughter. They put the child on the floor and finally placed the body in the vehicle. The video of Mr. Kanhar carrying his wife’s body has since gone viral.

“The woman was suffering from severe anaemia and respiratory distress syndrome. Blood transfusion was also done. Despite the best efforts of doctors, she died. Hospital staff were supposed to oversee transportation of the body from the bed to Mahaprayan vehicles (hearse),” said Kandhamal Chief District Medical Officer Rajashree Patnaik.

Dr. Patnaik said, “Hospitals staff were found to have neglected their duty. Two employees, including a staff nurse and an attendant, have been suspended.”

Arup Jena, president of Kandhamal Citizens’ Forum, said, “The incident reminds us of the case of Dana Majhi who had to carry his wife’s body over his shoulder for 12 km in Kalahandi cases a few years ago. Steps should be taken so that such situations do not recur.”

After the Dana Majhi episode in 2016, the Odisha government had started hearse services under the name of Mahaprayan to help transport bodies.

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