The Quang Tri General Hospital reportedly refused to accept a traffic accident victim on Tuesday, pronouncing him dead and saying it could not receive dead bodies.
Local police officer Le Manh Hung said his group had asked a taxi to drive Le Thi, 57, whose motorbike had been hit by a truck, to the Quang Tri General Hospital at 11 a.m.
But the taxi driver, Nguyen Thi Thanh Tam, returned more than 30 minutes later with Thi's dead body.
Tam said no one at the hospital carried the patient inside. One doctor came to check the patient in the taxi itself, said the patient was dead and left.
She waited for another 20 minutes at the hospital morgue but a guard said they couldn't let her bring the body inside as she was not accompanied by any police officer.
"I could do nothing but bring the body back to the scene," Tam said.
Several people brought a mat and a blanket to cover the body until 2 p.m. when his family came from nearby Quang Binh Province.
Police officer Hung said he had sent his subordinate to the hospital asking them to accept the body there for a while until the man's family came, but the hospital refused.
"My superior also called the hospital's leaders later, but didn't get a positive response."
Hung said right after the accident, Thi was still breathing, but the hospital's ambulance had not arrived.
"I can testify that the victim was breathing then, though very weakly. I just thought that I might be able to save a life, that's why I called the taxi," he said.
Tran Quoc Tuan, deputy director of the hospital, said "the hospital doesn't have the responsibility to receive the body of someone who dies outside the hospital."
Tuan said the hospital only makes exceptions when ordered to do so by the authorities.
He said he was not at the hospital when the incident happened and didn't know if local police had talked to the hospital officials over the phone.
Hung said the way the hospital dealt with the situation has frustrated many people who witnessed it.
"Hereafter, who would dare drive a victim to the hospital in similar cases?" he asked.