Only Tk 50 shy of life?
Bogura Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital authorities yesterday formed a four-member committee to investigate the death of a boy allegedly due to removal of his oxygen mask by a hospital employee for not getting a "satisfactory tip".
The victim, Bikash Chandra Biswas, 17, was the son of Bishu Chandra Biswas of Putimari village in Gaibandha's Saghata.
The hospital authorities said Asadul Islam Mir Dholu, 40, is not their permanent staffer. He was working as a cleaner at the hospital's corona unit on daily wages.
Victim's uncle Sachin Chandra Biswas told The Daily Star that Bikash, alongside studying, used to work part-time at a metal workshop at Kachua Bazar to support his family.
Bikash, a class-VIII student, was injured critically after a motorcycle rear-ended his bicycle when he was returning home from his workshop on Tuesday evening.
He was first taken to Saghata Upazila Health Complex and then moved to the Bogura SZMCH. Doctors there gave him oxygen support and referred him to the surgery ward.
Dholu, who was taking Bikash to the surgery ward on a stretcher from the emergency unit, demanded Tk 200 from his father for this work, said Sachin.
Bikash's father Bishu, a blacksmith in Putimari village, said, "I had only Tk 150 in my pocket. I gave that as his tip. But Dholu refused to take it and demanded Tk 200. Later, a man who was with Dholu took the money and put it in Dholu's pocket and tried to convince him.
"But Dholu became angry and removed the oxygen mask from my son's mouth, saying that this oxygen cylinder was taken from the emergency unit. You should manage oxygen from somewhere else."
"Within a few minutes, my son started having breathing problems and became silent. Later, doctors declared him dead," the father added.
A four-member body has been formed to probe the incident, said Abdul Wadud, deputy director of the hospital, adding that the committee has been asked to submit its report within next five working days.
"Dholu is not a regular employee ... in our investigation, we'll find out how he gets access to the emergency room."
Quoting the victim's family, Shamim Hossain, sub-inspector of the medical outpost, who visited the spot immediately, told this correspondent that after the incident, other attendants caught Dholu and handed him over to on-duty Ansar men at the hospital, but "they helped him flee the spot".
Contacted, Selim Reza, officer-in-charge of Bogura Sadar Police Station, said, "After the incident, our officers visited the spot and found the allegation against the hospital staffer was true."
Asked about the legal action, Deputy Director Wadud said they would take legal actions against those involved in the incident. They already filed a written complaint with police in this regard.
However, OC Selim said no such complaint was lodged while taking to this newspaper around 6:00pm yesterday.
Abdul Kader, platoon commander of Ansar at the hospital, refuted the allegation of helping Dholu flee the spot. They rather saved him from the people's wrath. "Later, he managed to flee the hospital, dodging the eyes of Ansar men."