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Caught on camera: Patient dragged on a bedsheet to the x-ray room by the staff at a medical college in Madhya Pradesh, India Image Credit: Twitter @ANI/Video screengrab

Patient dragged on a bedsheet to the x-ray room by the staff at a medical college in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh was caught on camera, shocking many social media users.

Three people were suspended after the incident that took place at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose (NSCB) Hospital in Jabalpur came to light.

In a video shared by the Indian news agency Asian News International (ANI), a hospital staff member can be seen dragging the man who is lying on what looks like a bedsheet.

Indian tweeple were shocked at the medical negligence and said that those responsible must be held accountable.

According to Dr Navneet Saxena the dean of the medical college, the administration has launched an inquiry after which action will be taken against all who are found guilty.

However, tweeps said this was not enough.

@nellaiseemai posted: “At the end only the person who [dragged] the patient will be suspended. What about the dean and doctors and who are responsible for maintaining the hospital and patients’ health? All punishment will be mete out only to those who are at the bottom of the pyramid.”

And @ItsmeHarii added: “Hearing the same answers from higher authorities every time, everywhere, whenever these things happen — suspend, enquiry and action. But, nobody knows what action they are taking.”

A bigger question

A careful look at the video shows other people sleeping and squatting in the corridor and patients in a ward lying down on the floor.

The video also raised an important question: Where are the beds and the stretchers in this hospital? Why is the condition of medical facilities so poor?

@naveenkailkhuri asked: “It looks really bad but at least he used his sense to serve the poor man. Why were there no stretchers?”

In 2017, over 70 children had died in a matter of days at Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, a tragedy that raised questions involving the government hospital where it occurred, its doctors and the alleged short supply of oxygen cylinders.

In June of the same year, a national Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report revealed a 27.21 per cent shortage for clinical equipment and 56.33 per cent for non-clinical equipment, of which oxygen supply was a part. The report found critical medical equipment could not be used for more than five years because there was no annual maintenance contract.

A 2018 National Health Profile report released by the then Indian union minister for health and family welfare, J P Nadda showed that the government spent Rs1,397 (Dh74) per person per year on health as per the estimates of the 2016-2017 budget. This means Rs116.4(Dh6.20) per month.

About 1.3 per cent India’s Gross Domestic Product (a monetary measure of the total market value of goods produced and services provided in a country during one year) is spent on healthcare. This is lower than the spending ratio by some of the poorest countries of South Asia such as Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Lack of doctors

While India has already achieved the World Health Organisation’s recommended doctor to population ratio of 1:1,000 last year, many of these doctors are in urban private clinics. A very small percentage of them chose to offer their services in rural clinics or healthcare facilities. So, can doctors or even medical staff be blamed considering the lack of healthcare professionals and hospital equipment in rural hospitals?

Tweep @siddharth_ite posted: “The government is responsible for this not [the] doctors. It’s not a doctor’s duty to arrange facilities in a government hospital.”

And @Sankalpsrivas18 asked: “Do you expect the staff member to get the stretcher from his home?”

Government’s responsibility

Healthcare has become one of India’s largest sectors - both in terms of revenue and employment. Healthcare in India comprises hospitals, medical devices, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and medical equipment.

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For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

According to the India Brand Equity Foundation numbers, the Indian healthcare industry amounted to $160 billion (Dh588 billion) in 2017 and is expected to reach $370 billion (Dh1.3 trillion) by 2022 due to increased demand for specialised and quality healthcare facilities. However, the market is dominated by private players.

The rural and government healthcare facilities need to be given more importance.

Twitter user @m_wangsu, added that the government should be paying attention to the issue: “Poor patients mostly face such circumstances. Request government... need [to pay] special attention to this matter.”