J&K: Coronavirus-infected pregnant woman forced to deliver in the open
A coronavirus-infected pregnant woman was turned away from a hospital in Kashmir, forcing her to deliver the baby in the open. The incident has triggered protests against doctors in the area. Reportedly, after the woman tested positive for the virus, doctors allegedly refused to treat her and referred her to a dedicated COVID-19 facility. An inquiry into the matter has been initiated. Here's more.
The woman, from Vewan village of Bandipore district, was supposed to get admitted to the district hospital for delivery on Saturday. Upon arriving at the hospital, her family members were instructed to get some mandatory tests, including COVID-19, done on her. After the woman tested positive for the infection, doctors referred her to a dedicated COVID-19 facility, located nearly 25km from there.
However, by that time, the woman had developed intense labor pain, which forced her to deliver near the hospital's gate. The family has alleged that no doctor or staff member came out to help her even at that point, despite repeated pleas. Some passersby offered blankets to cover her, while some women helped the patient to deliver, the family added.
"There was no doctor or paramedical staff to attend her. She was forced to deliver in the hospital premises. All men saw her giving birth to a baby. It is a shame (sic)," an eye-witness told local media.
Soon after the incident, the family members and some locals staged a protest against the insensitive attitude of the doctors. However, health officials have denied the family's allegations. The concerned medical officer reportedly said, "I referred her to CHC Hajin... But due to unknown reasons they did not get into the ambulance and delivered on the road (sic)."
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner of Bandipore has issued a show-cause notice to the Medical Superintendent and Medical Officer DH Bandipore, who were on duty. A committee has also been constituted to inquire into the incident and submit a report within one week. Reportedly, the salary of the accused doctors has been withheld, and they have been asked to explain their approach to the incident.
"This certainly is an inhuman and insensitive act and would be investigated. We have taken cognizance and an inquiry team has been set up. Strict action would be taken [if doctors are found guilty]," News18 quoted a senior health official as saying.
This is not the first such instance. In June, a woman, positive for coronavirus, was forced to deliver in the corridor of a hospital in Srinagar as no doctors were available to treat her. "I pray no mother in this world ever has to see such horrible times," she had said. COVID-19 has infected over 88 lakh and killed over a lakh across India.