Pregnant woman dies after being denied treatment by 8 hospitals, DM orders inquiry
A 30-year-old pregnant woman died on Friday evening after she was allegedly denied treatment by at least eight government and private hospitals in Noida and Ghaziabad due to non-availability of beds.
Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate, Suhas LY, has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
The woman, 30-year-old Neelam, was eight months pregnant and a resident of Azad Vihar in Khoda colony, Ghaziabad. According to the family members, she had complained of breathlessness on Friday morning and was first rushed by her husband in the autorickshaw to ESIC hospital in Noida’s Sector 24 at 6am.
“Thereafter our ordeal continued till 7.30pm when she died after we took her for second time to the Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS). From where we brought her body in an ambulance around midnight to Ghazipur where her last rites were performed. It is our request to all authorities to take steps so that no other woman suffers such a painful death like Neelam,” said Shailendra Kumar, brother-in-law of Neelam. She was driven in an autorickshaw from one hospital to another for about six hours, her family members said.
According to the family, they took her to seven hospitals (government and private) in Gautam Budh Nagar and one (Max Hospital in Vaishali) in Ghaziabad.
“At ESIC hospital, the staff told us to go to the district hospital in Sector 30. There also she was denied medical help. She had been undergoing treatment at Shivalik hospital in Noida, but it also did not admit her,” said Bijender Singh, the woman’s husband.
The family took her to some private hospitals like Fortis in Sector 62, followed by Jaypee hospital in Sector 128 and Sharda Hospital in Greater Noida. The family members alleged that all hospitals denied her treatment citing unavailability of bed. After Sharda, the family took her to the GIMS, then to Max Hospital in Vaishali and finally back to GIMS where she was declared brought dead.
“I pleaded the officials at GIMS and then they tried to put her on ventilator but could not save her,” said the husband.
When asked, Dr Rakesh Gupta, director, GIMS, said, “They had called us in the evening, but we didn’t have a bed. They came to the hospital in the end, but by then the woman had died.”
Shailendra, who owns an auto and drove Neelam, along with her husband, from one hospital to other, said that most of the hospitals denied her admission on pretext that they don’t have vacant beds while some referred her to higher hospitals.
“She kept crying in pain in my auto for hours, but I continued to drive her from one hospital to other. I drove her for about six hours in my auto. In between one private hospital arranged for an ambulance when her condition deteriorated further, and I paid Rs 5,800 to the driver,” Shailendra said.
Neelam was pregnant for the second time with her first child being a five-year-old son.
“She worked at a factory in Sector 58 and also held an ESIC card. So, initially we took her to the ESIC hospital in Sector 24, but they asked us to take her to the district hospital. She was under treatment at Shivalik hospital from May 31 to June 4 when she got discharged. We again took her to the hospital but this time they did not admit her,” said the husband.
Taking note of the alleged negligence by the hospitals, the district magistrate called for an inquiry in the matter.
“The investigation of the whole case where she died as she was not admitted by several hospitals nor provided treatment has been given to ADM (finance) MN Upadhyay and chief medical officer Dr Deepak Ohri. They have been asked to take prompt action in the case,” said a statement released by the DM’s office.
The family performed the last rites of the woman on Saturday morning.
“We have spoken to the family. We will find out what went wrong. Action will be taken against the hospitals if found responsible after a thorough investigation,” said Upadhyay, ADM (finance).
Private hospitals have, however, denied any negligence on their part and claim that they were only following procedures.
“The emergency doctors said that she had all Covid-19 symptoms like fever and breathlessness. According to instructions given by the government to all private hospitals, we referred her to GIMS ,where Covid patients are treated, after she was counselled and given a referral letter,” said a statement by Jaypee Hospital.
Sharda hospital also referred her to an advanced centre. “When she came to us in the afternoon, she was in need of oxygen. She was then stabilised. But there was no space in the ICU, and ICU allotment happens through the office of the CMO. So, she was referred to a higher centre,” said Dr Ajit Kumar, spokesperson, Sharda hospital.
In a statement, Fortis hospital said, “The patient was brought in a critical condition around 11am. Doctors advised immediate resuscitation to stabilise her. Due to unavailability of room in ICU isolation ward, she was provided oxygen and nebulised in the waiting area. The husband was counselled and explained the need for resuscitation and transfer to another hospital in an advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) ambulance without delay. However, he refused resuscitation and ventilation support. He also declined our insistence and medical advice for ACLS transfer and the patient was taken from our hospital in an auto.”
Meanwhile, the spokesperson from Max Hospital, Vaishali in Ghaziabad said, “As per our records, no such patient was registered in our emergency.”
Despite repeated attempts, the district magistrate did not respond to calls.
Atul Garg, Uttar Pradesh minister for medical, health and family welfare, and also Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Ghaziabad, on Saturday evening said that he had no information about the incident.
“I will inquire into the incident and get back. Since I am on visit to districts in western UP, I had no information about the case so far,” he said.
Vimla Batham, the chairperson of UP state women commission, said that she will get an inquiry done into the incident on Monday.