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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Doctors refuse to help HIV+ mother deliver

S Raju, Hindustan Times  Meerut, June 29, 2007
First Published: 16:26 IST(29/6/2007) | Last Updated: 01:12 IST(30/6/2007)
A man was forced to deliver his baby on Wednesday when government doctors refused to treat his HIV-positive wife for fear of getting infected. A painter by profession, Asif (name changed) delivered the baby boy as doctors at the LLRM Medical College stood by and watched.

He said, "They were around my wife but didn't touch her. I delivered the baby to the best of my abilities."

The baby was born premature by six weeks and weighed 1.75 kg. Paediatrician Dr Amit Upadhyay, who examined the newborn, declared him fit. "It's too early to say whether he is HIV positive or not because the antibodies can be detected only after nine months," said Dr Upadhyay.

Asif said his wife was being treated for HIV at the medical college for over three months, but Dr Abhilasha Gupta, acting head of department, gynaecology, said the doctors came to know about the patient's HIV status only 10 minutes before the delivery. She offered no comment when asked why the doctors had refused to attend on Asif's wife.

Dr Deepti Bisht, principal, LLRM Medical College, said, "The doctors on duty have said the charges of not attending to the HIV positive patient, when she was in labour, are baseless. They attended the patient and provided her all kind of necessary treatment. The matter is now pending with the higher authorities and if the doctors are found guilty, they will be punished."

On Thursday, Meerut's Chief Development Officer Roshan Jacob sent a report to the principal secretary in Lucknow, recommending action against the doctors and staff. Jacob said, "The labour room did not have sufficient facilities, and humanitarian concern was missing at every level."

But Asif said he did not want any action to be taken against the doctors.

On Friday, a team of doctors from the National Aids Control Organisation, in Meerut to probe the matter, discussed the case with Dr Gupta and her colleagues.

In Delhi, Dr Sanjiv Malik, president, SAARC Medical Association, and former president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, "What the doctors did was wrong and they can lose their registration over it. We need to teach doctors the protocols of treating HIV positive people. The IMA keeps getting complaints from doctors saying how they do not have the basic equipment needed to minimise risk."
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