We have been overwhelmed by a humanitarian act of Law Minister Anisul Huq. Sale of a newborn baby in Gaibandha was stopped as a result of the noble gesture displayed by the minister. A report headlined “Mother sells newborn to pay hospital bills” published in this newspaper on Saturday drew the minister’s attention. He was moved by the story and acted promptly resulting in the return of the newborn baby to the warm lap of her mother. In a time of narrow selfishness, the minister has exhibited the power of humanity.
Now let us look what had actually happened in Gaibandha hospital that prompted a mother to sell her newborn baby. As per report, the woman, Amena Begum, gave birth to the child at a private clinic in the northern district town. After four days of surgical delivery, the clinic authorities asked her husband to pay a bill amounting to Tk 16,000 which was beyond his capacity. But they created pressure on the couple to pay the same. Finding no other alternative, the poor couple sold their baby to a man at Tk 16,000 through a syndicate and paid Tk 9,000 to the clinic authorities before leaving the spot. This was undoubtedly an act of cruelty of the clinic authorities. The way the hospital authorities behaved with a mother of a newborn baby is unprecedented, unethical and illegal.They behaved like Shylock, the famous villain of Shakespeare's play ‘The Merchant of Venice.’ The clinic authorities should have considered sympathetically the couple’s helplessness. Better they could waive their medical bill totally. If not, at least, the couple should have been given a chance for instalment payment. But, regrettably, the hospital authorities failed to show humanity to the poor couple. A hospital is an institution for healthcare with love and care for the patients, but it has now turned into a business organisation where money-making is its main concern. Ill treatment for non-payment of medical bill is also a denial of human rights and dignity. The administration should wake up from slumber and take action against the authorities of these so-called hospitals for ensuring proper healthcare service to the people.