The sister of a patient who was admitted to the labour ward of the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) was allegedly assaulted on Thursday by a contract worker for refusing to pay a bribe. In her complaint to the Race Course Police, J. Pushparani, 33, a resident of Puliakulam, said that her sister Arockia Mary, 26, had delivered a male child on Thursday morning.

Ms. Pushparani alleged that a woman contract worker in the ward had demanded Rs. 500 in view of her sister being delivered of a male child. When she replied that they were daily wage labourers and did not have money, the contract worker had threatened her.

Later in the evening, when Ms. Pushparani had taken her sister to the toilet in the ward, the worker had refused to allow them to use it till they paid the money. Ms. Pushparani said that an argument broke out and the contract worker struck her on the head with a stick.

When contacted, the Resident Medical Officer S. Dharmalingam said that the preliminary investigation had suggested only a verbal dispute. However, an investigation had been ordered.