The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) on Tuesday ordered an inquiry into an incident in which a 30-year-old woman was forced to deliver a baby on the road at the busy Jawala Nagar area of west Delhi on Monday night.
Babita had slipped into labour on Monday evening. Her husband Suresh rushed her to the local Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD)-run Maternity and Child Care Centre.
She gave birth to a baby girl on the road out the centre after it refused her entry.
On Tuesday, the MCD Commissioner, K.S. Mehra, formed a team under Dr Madhu Jain, director of health administration, to get to the bottom of the incident. The report is expected to come on Wednesday and the Commissioner is going to make it public in the MCD Standing Committee on the same day.
Babita and her mother-in-law had gone to the maternity centre at 9 a.m. on Monday. The doctor on duty prescribed some medicines to induce labour.
In the evening around 8.30, Babita went into labour and was rushed to the centre by her husband and mother-in-law.
Her husband Suresh Kumar, who couldn’t enter the premises because no male was allowed inside, realised that the nurse on duty was ill-treating his wife and mother.
“Don’t you find a better time to slip into labour. Why spoil our time of rest? This is what the sister (nurse) told them,” said Suresh Kumar.
Kumar had, meanwhile, called Moti Lal, a social worker in the area, to help him out. While Babita was walking out of the centre, the baby had almost come out.
“The police and the local residents helped us a lot. Why did they behave like that? This place is meant for poor, and is this how we are going to be treated just because we don't have money?” asked Kumar in despair.
“Today it has happened to us, tomorrow it can happen with anyone,” he added.
Suresh, who is a construction worker in the area, alleged that nurse Aneeta at the centre refused to admit his wife.
The distraught couple then sat outside the centre where Babita delivered her baby after sometime. Though both the mother and child were safe, a furious Suresh called a PCR and reported the matter.
The MCD officials admitted that the incident was “unfortunate” and “inhuman” and would have risked the lives of both mother and baby.
“Whatever information we have as of now points at the fact that the centre was at fault. The people on duty there should have behaved in a more humane manner,” said Vijendra Gupta, chairman of the MCD standing committee.
A source at the civic agency said these small maternity centres in various parts of the city do not have a permanent staff.
“Doctors are hired on temporary basis and are usually on call. In the evenings especially, there are only nurses to attend to the visiting patients,” the source added.
A senior resident doctor at GTB Hospital said, “Obviously you will have such cases if you don’t recruit proper staff and have proper equipment in the hospitals and clinics. It’s high time the authorities woke up to the issue.”