Rishi's parents – Sanjay Pandre and Rajkali Pandre – had brought him to the health centre at the Bargi area in Jabalpur on Wednesday. However, he was not taken in for treatment as no doctors were allegedly available. After waiting for hours, the boy died in his mother's lap outside the hospital gate.
Locals reportedly claimed that even hours after the boy died, no staff or doctor was available at the hospital.
"My son wasn't feeling well and had fever so we took him to the hospital at Bargi, since it is a big hospital. However, when we reached, there was no doctor or nurse present," said Sanjay Pandre.
When a doctor was asked about his absence and delayed arrival, he reportedly said that his wife was fasting for a festival, a day before, and hence he got delayed.
Health Dept Official Says Child Was Brought Dead
The Regional Joint Director of the Health Department, Sanjay Mishra, has denied the parents' claim and said that the child was brought dead.
"Yesterday at around 10:30 am, five-year-old Rishi was brought to the hospital by his parents. The doctor, after examining him, declared him brought dead. He had suffered injuries due to fire and was suffering from septicemia," Mishra said.
'Heart-Breaking,' Says State Congress President Kamal Nath
Reacting to the incident, Congress State President Kamal Nath said it was "heart-breaking."
"An innocent child dies in agony outside the health center, in the lap of his mother, because he could neither find a doctor nor get treatment," he wrote in a tweet in Hindi.
Poor Health Infrastructure in the State
The incident has once again highlighted the need to improve the poor health infrastructure in Madhya Pradesh. Just a month ago, a similar incident took place in the state's Morena district, when eight-year-old Gulshan sat for hours carrying the body of his two-year-old brother, Raja, in his arms, while his father Poojaram frantically searched for an ambulance to carry the corpse home.
On 31 July, a man was forced to carry his mother's body on a motorcycle for 80 kms from Madhya Pradesh's Shahdol Medical College, following the hospital's refusal to provide a hearse van. This was the second such incident in the state after a man had to carry his four-year-old daughter's body on his shoulders in June.