The dead man's body. Focus on hand(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The dead man's body. Focus on hand(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Bhopal: Denial of treatment at 3 hospitals caused pregnant woman’s death, alleges husband

The husband’s allegation comes barely three days after Madhya Pradesh (MP) health minister Narottam Mishra blamed Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for the death of a Covid-19 patient in Bhopal, who was allegedly denied treatment at several hospitals in the national capital.
Hindustan Times, Bhopal | By Ranjan
UPDATED ON JUN 13, 2020 09:24 AM IST

A Bhopal-based man has alleged that his pregnant wife (23), who had tested coronavirus positive (Covid-19), died on May 28 because she was denied treatment in three government-run hospitals and passed away at the fourth state-run facility.

The husband’s allegation comes barely three days after Madhya Pradesh (MP) health minister Narottam Mishra blamed Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for the death of a Covid-19 patient in Bhopal, who was allegedly denied treatment at several hospitals in the national capital.

A Bhopal gas tragedy survivors’ organisation has alleged that the pregnant woman’s death was not the only case of medical negligence, as several state-run and private hospitals have been turning away patients amid the raging pandemic, which has stretched MP’s creaking healthcare infrastructure.

Earlier, there were several complaints from Indore and other parts of MP about patients, who were being denied treatment at government-run and private hospitals or an inordinate delay in attending to them.

The man, whose pregnant wife died at Hamidia Hospital, the teaching hospital of Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal, on May 28, has clarified that he couldn’t raise the issue earlier, as he had to quarantine himself for 14 days because his late wife had tested Covid-19 positive.

He narrated his ordeal, which laid bare the acute healthcare crisis in Bhopal and how the state government has been unable to provide timely treatment to Covid-19 patients.

“My wife was eight-month pregnant. On May 26, she complained of chest pain and severe difficulty in breathing. I took her to a nearby private hospital at 7 pm, from where she was referred to JP Hospital. We reached the hospital at 11:30 pm, where the staff told me that only those pregnant women would be treated there, who were already registered. They referred her to Indira Gandhi Woman and Child Hospital. However, no doctor was available on duty at that hospital. So, she had to be taken to Sultania Janana Hospital, where, too, I met with a similar response. We kept waiting at the hospital gate till 3 am while requesting the hospital authorities to admit her, as her condition was worsening. Finally, she was admitted at around 3 am,” he said.

He added: “However, the doctor referred her to Hamidia Hospital at 4:30 am. The oxygen cylinder in the ambulance of Sultania Janana Hospital was defunct. She was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of Hamidia Hospital and put on a ventilator after 8.30 am.”

He said: “At 3 pm, her test report showed Covid-19 positive. The doctor, who was treating her, told me that my wife’s chances of survival were slim, but all efforts would be made to save the baby. At 3:30 pm, I was handed over a stillborn baby boy, who I buried immediately and came back to the hospital.”

He added: “The hospital authorities informed me about my wife’s death at 1 pm, even though the record shows it at 10 am.”

The man said both his wife and the baby could have been saved had she got timely treatment.

Rachna Dhingra, a social activist and a co-founder of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, said: “This was not the only case of denial or negligence in treatment. A woman (30), who had tested Covid-19 positive, didn’t get proper oxygen support, when she was referred from Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre to Hamidia Hospital in end-May. When her spouse put pressure to shift her to Chirayu Medical College, the doctors at Hamidia Hospital wrote on the hospital record that she left against medical advice (LAMA). There were several similar cases.”

Dr. Parag Sharma, the spokesperson for Gandhi Medical College, said, “The particular patient, who was pregnant, was very serious, as she was admitted to the hospital at a critical stage. Unfortunately, in such cases, patients’ kin always blames the hospital authorities. However, we’re trying to provide the best treatment as per the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines. People must understand that the best remedy to the viral disease is an early diagnosis for which patients have to approach hospitals immediately after they feel that they’re showing signs of symptoms related to Covid-19.”

State health minister Narottam Mishra said, “MP’s recovery rate of over 65% suggests the quality of treatment being provided to Covid-19 patients. However, if there is any complaint regarding negligence in a hospital, we’ll conduct an inquiry into it and take all necessary actions.”

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