The body of a woman hailing from Bidar in Karnataka, who died of cancer in Kerala, was transported to her native place in the boot of a car as her family could not afford the amount demanded by ambulance operators.
The Kerala Human Rights Commission has sought a report from the government on the incident that occurred at Malappuram district in north Kerala.
Chandrakala, 48, recently came to Kerala for getting treatment at a leading Ayurveda hospital in Malappuram. As her condition deteriorated, she was shifted to the government medical college hospital at Manjeri in Malappuram a few days back. But she died on March 15.
Chandrakala’s son, Dattu, told DH over phone from Bidar that ambulance drivers demanded Rs 45,000 to Rs 50,000 for transporting the body to Bidar, which is about 1000 kilometres from Manjeri.
“We could not afford that much and hence we had to carry the body in the boot space of the car in which our relatives came to Kerala on March 16. Fortunately, the body did not suffer much damage though it took over 30 hours to reach here,” he said.
Dr. K V Nandakumar, superintendent, Manjeri medical college hospital, claimed the patient’s relatives didn’t request for any ambulance service.
“They requested us that the body may be kept in the mortuary for one day,” Nandakumar said.
“On March 16, when they came to take the body, we noticed that their vehicle did not have freezer facility. Hence, we said the body could be embalmed. But they agreed to to it by around 3.30 p.m. Since embalming procedures may take some time and the next day being Sunday, we informed that it could be done only Monday. But they insisted on taking the body that day itself.”
The family obtained a no-objection certificate from the local police for transporting the body. Manjeri police station house officer N B Shiju said the family didn’t tell them about the lack of proper facility for transporting the body.
Taking suo motu notice of the matter on Monday, Kerala Human Rights Commission member K Mohan Kumar directed the Malappuram district collector and the hospital superintendent to conduct a probe into the incident andsubmit a report within three weeks.Meanwhile, Dattu said the family did not wish to go ahead with any complaint over the incident.