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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

Hospital's apathy, discrimination haunts HIV+ pregnant woman

Harshraj Singh, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, January 12, 2013
First Published: 23:46 IST(12/1/2013) | Last Updated: 23:48 IST(12/1/2013)

The family of an HIV-positive woman from Ambala have accused the Ludhiana civil hospital of apathy and refusing to deliver her baby.

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The family members of the woman, who did not want to be named, said the Khanna Civil Hospital staff referred her to the Ludhiana Civil Hospital for a Caesarean section on Thursday after finding out that she was HIV positive.

On the contrary, Khanna civil hospital senior medical officer Dr NK Singla said the woman was referred to Ludhiana as no female doctor was available at the hospital to conduct her delivery. He claimed the only woman doctor deputed for deliveries was on leave.

However, the situation did not get any better for the ailing woman on reaching Ludhiana.

A woman relative of the patient told Hindustan Times that when they reached the Ludhiana Civil Hospital, the doctors refused to perform a Caesarean section saying "Assin bali da bakra nai banna (we don't want to be a scapegoat)".

"They also advised us to take her back to the Khanna Civil Hospital," she alleged, adding that the doctors expressed displeasure over her being referred to the Ludhiana Civil Hospital.

According to the mother-in-law of the pregnant woman, they returned to the Civil Hospital on Friday. But, still no doctor wanted to conduct her delivery. She said later they were given an appointment for Saturday morning, even as doctors continued to play dilly-dallying tactics with them.

"When we came to the hospital on Saturday morning, doctors were again rude to us. They asked us to take the patient back to the Khanna Civil Hospital," she alleged.

When contacted, Ludhiana civil surgeon Dr Subhash Batta said the patient's delivery would be conducted at the hospital, adding that he would ask the staff concerned to make all necessary arrangements.

Later, following Dr Batta's intervention, the woman's treatment started on Saturday, and she delivered a boy.

Meanwhile, senior medical officer of the Ludhiana Civil Hospital, Dr Karamvir Goyal said he had met the woman's family members, who apprised him of the situation. He added he had lodged a complaint with the higher authorities, so that such incidents did not occur in future. Both the mother and child were stable, he said.

Talking about the precautions taken in the delivery cases of HIV-infected women, assistant civil surgeon Dr KS Saini said special kits were provided to the medical staff for conducting such deliveries.

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