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Probe ordered after Kupwara woman delivers baby on road

Srinagar, Jan 19: Government on Saturday ordered an inquiry after a woman gave birth to a baby on a road as doctors at the Valley's premier maternity care Lalla Ded Hospital allegedly refused her overnight stay at the facility.

The woman, a resident of Kupwara district of north Kashmir, delivered a baby girl on the road, but the family could not save the baby.

The doctors at the largest maternity hospital in Srinagar reportedly refused to admit the woman on Thursday who had reached the facility from far-flung area of Moori, Kalaroose in frontier district of Kupwara.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Khan, ordered an inquiry to ascertain the factual position after reports of denial of entry of a pregnant woman into Lalla Ded Hospital came to the fore.

“A news item has been posted on the social media which reveals that a woman from remote area of Kupwara district was forced to deliver on the roadside after doctors of Government L D Hospital, Srinagar, the largest maternity care hospital in the valley, did not allow her to stay in the hospital for a night and did not admit her on Thursday,” Khan said in the inquiry order.

The Divisional commissioner Kashmir asked Principal/Dean, Government Medical College Srinagar to inquire into the matter and submit the report in two days.

"This news item needs a thorough enquiry to find out the factual position, so that appropriate action is taken against the concerned if found liable for such negligence/ act," the order read.

Khan asked the inquiry officer to treat the matter most urgent.

"You are accordingly directed to enquire into the matter and furnish the inquiry report along with your explicit comments within two days, treating the matter most urgent," the order said.

Medical Superintendent of Lalla Ded Hospital, Dr Shabir Siddique said that the matter has been already taken up with the Head, Department Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

“Pending inquiry, the doctor(s) who was/were on duty on Thursday has been attached to Principal GMC, Srinagar," Dr Siddique said.

Medical Superintendent also claimed that there were strict instructions to the doctors to keep patients from far-flung areas for an overnight stay at the hospital.

"We are ascertaining the facts. If there is any negligence, then we will take strict action,” he added.

The woman, identified as Suraya, had developed labour pain on Thursday at her home.

“With nearly 3-feet snow in the area, the roads between Mooree and Kalaroos, where the nearest hospital is located, were not motorable,” reported ‘The Indian Express’.

“Around 15 people put my sister on a cot and we walked for six hours to reach the hospital (in Kalaroos, around 14 km away),” the report quoted woman’s brother Zaman as having said.

He said the doctors there referred her to Kupwara hospital, from where she was referred further to Lalla Ded Hospital in Srinagar.

At Lalla Ded Hospital, the family said, Suraya was kept under observation for a few hours. Hospital authorities subsequently refused to admit her and denied an overnight stay at the hospital.

"We were told to leave the hospital. A doctor also misbehaved with us. After we left the hospital, she developed severe pain again and delivered a baby girl on the road. The new-born died immediately,” Zaman said.

He said, “At around 8.30 pm, my sister developed severe pain again and delivered a baby girl on the road. The new-born died immediately,” Zaman said.

The family claimed that the baby could have survived had the doctors in Kalaroos not referred her to Srinagar and if the doctors at Lalla Ded Hospital had not refused them admission.

“Action should also be taken against those who referred us to Srinagar from Kupwara hospital and also those who asked us to wait and bring the woman on Friday at the LD hospital,” a family member demanded.

The relatives and neighbours of the woman held a protest at Press Enclave here on Saturday, demanding action and doctors and hospital administration.

They also demanded establishment of a maternity care hospital in Kupwara and accommodation at Srinagar for patients from such far-flung areas.

Meanwhile, mainstream politicians have demanded action against the doctors.

Omar, Mehbooba, Lone and Mir pained at woman’s ordeal

Srinagar, Jan 19: Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, And Peoples Conference chief Sajad Gani Lone on Saturday expressed pain and anguish after a woman was forced to deliver on a road in Srinagar.

Taking to Twitter, the National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah said he hoped the administration led by Governor Satya Pal Malik would take immediate take action in the tragic case.

“I hope the state functionaries working under the command of @jandkgovernor take immediate action in this tragic case,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti while calling the incident as heart wrenching expressed pain for turning away the pregnant woman from the lone maternity-care hospital in capital city, saying “she cannot even begin to fathom the pain & trauma the parents must feel.”

“Heart wrenching that a pregnant woman was turned away from a hospital which ironically is named after the great Kashmiri mystic saint Lal Ded. She later gave birth to a still born in frigid temperatures. Cannot even begin to fathom the pain & trauma the parents must feel,” she tweeted.

Former minister and Peoples Conference (PC) chairman Sajad Gani Lone demanded action in the case.

"Woman gives birth on road. It is imperative that action is taken. Overall there is a dire need to reorient health devices to challenges of Today,” Lone wrote on Twitter.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee president G A Mir also expressed serious concern over the incident and described it as shameful, deplorable and unfortunate.

Mir expressed hope the Governor-led state administration would take strong notice of the incident, reform the health sector in the state and ensure that no such incident happens in the future.

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