A penniless villager from the Indian state of Odisha says he carried his wife’s body on his shoulder for almost 7 miles after he could not get help from hospital officials to transport the corpse, Indian media reported.
Dana Majhi used old sheets from a hospital bed to wrap the body of his wife, Amangadei, lifted her on his shoulder and started walking from Bhawanipatna to his home village, Melghari, 35 miles away. His teenage daughter, sobbing, walked by his side, The Indian Express reported.
Majhi said he asked the hospital to arrange a hearse to move the body after Amangadei died Wednesday.
“I requested everyone, but no one listened,” the 42-year-old Majhi said, according toThe Express. “What option did I have other than carrying her?”
He had walked for almost seven miles before a passerby notified local officials, who sent an ambulance to finish the journey. He also called a TV reporter, who filmed the ordeal and broadcast the story widely at home and abroad.
Brundha D., a Kalahandi district official, claimed that Majhi did not wait for a vehicle to be arranged.
“We would have surely sent the body in a vehicle,” she told the newspaper, adding that she lined up funds for funeral assistance from state coffers and the local Red Cross fund.
An alternate account of the story suggests Majhi was disoriented after his wife died and didn’t know what to do. He told Odisha TV Saturday that he was distraught, did not speak to anyone in the hospital and left with his wife’s body until he got to a villager nearby where he had friends.
Regardless, Majhi’s apparent lack of options and the widespread publicity got the attention of authorities who pledged stern action against any negligent officials.
“We will see if there were any lapses on the part of the hospital authorities. We will definitely take action against the erring officials,” Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak told Odisha TV on Saturday.
The Express said it was at least the second time since April that poor families have been forced to find alternative ways to transport a deceased relative from a hospital. In April, a family from Andhra Pradesh had to tow their daughter’s body in a rickshaw for her last rites, the newspaper said.
Source: USA Today
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