Visitors 'bribe' guards to enter ward

 The gynaecology ward of Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital often sees a tussle between security guards and families of patients admitted here. 

Relatives of patients in the ward alleged they have to bribe the guards even during official visiting hours, a charge denied by guards deployed at the entry. 

Patients were also found violating rules and going inside the ward after the visiting hours.    
   “Who would have known we have to shell out Rs 2,500 in four days to bribe security guards? If we were comfortable paying, we would have gone to a private hospital for my sister-in-law’s delivery,” said Anita Khandelwal, a resident of Vikaspuri.

“It is not only that guards ask for money during visiting hours when families are bringing in more visitors. Try getting into the ward anytime and they will ask for money,” added Khandelwal.

Relatives of patients admitted in the wards claimed guards asked for a minimum of Rs 100 and a maximum of Rs 500. However, they usually settle for Rs 50 - Rs 100, they alleged.        

While a female attendant from a family is allowed to stay with the patient throughout the day, one visitor is allowed at a time during the visiting hours. 

“If the patient’s condition is serious, the hospital allows up to three persons at a time,” said a hospital official, on condition of anonymity.

Families of patients, however, also quarrel with guards to let them in at any time of the day.

While relatives claimed it was only during emergencies that they bend rules, security guards deployed at the entry said they have to perennially deal with “unruly crowd”.

‘Families also break rules’

“Families break rules all the time. Yesterday, five neighbours of a patient tried to make their way. They spread rumours of us accepting bribes when we restrict their entry. How can we relax rules in a sensitive ward like this,” said Rajendra Bhargav, a security guard.
  Radha, who has given birth to a boy six days back, said, “I had fever yesterday. My husband came upstairs to give me medicine. The guards asked him to pay Rs 500 but settled for Rs 60 later. If they want to abide by rules, why do they accept money at all?”

Patients and their family members are, however, sceptical to complain to the authorities before they are discharged.

“I have already prepared a written complaint. The day my wife and four-day-old daughter are discharged, I will submit the grievance letter to the medical superintendent. The guards demand money every time you come inside, even if it is during visiting hours. If there are two men deployed, you have to pay both of them,” said Shyam Kumar.

Some patients alleged the housekeeping staff trouble them if they do not give money.“We do not have access to basic hygienic conditions in the post-operative state. The housekeeping staff refused to broom the room because we retaliated against paying her money,” said Sita.

The hospital's Medical Superintendent Bharat Singh was not immediately available for comment. 

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