Protests continue over death of 2 pregnant women in Pulwama

SHABIR AHMAD/ MUSHTAQ-UL-ISLAM

PULWAMA: Protests and shutdown continued Thursday in this south Kashmir township for the second consecutive day over the death of two pregnant women and a newborn baby due to alleged negligence of medical staff at district hospital.
Though the authorities have placed two doctors and a staff nurse under suspension, the anger refused to die down with township observing a complete shutdown on Thursday.
All shops, business establishments and private offices remained shut and traffic was off the roads. Fearing violent protests, the authorities deployed huge contingents of forces in the town.
However, as the deployment was being made in the town on Thursday morning , scores of youth who had assembled on roads pelted them with stones.
On Monday, a 22-year-old woman and her newborn died, triggering protests for two days. As the anger over the death of the mother-baby duo was yet to subside, another pregnant woman, Khursheeda, died on Wednesday.
Family members of Khursheeda alleged that doctors had forgotten some surgical instrument in her womb during the cesarean. “After the surgery my wife bled and cried in pain throughout the night, but none of the doctors or paramedicos on duty bothered to examine her. It was only in the morning that they realized something had gone wrong and took her to operation theatre again without my consent,” her husband had told Kashmir Reader on Wednesday.
The death of second pregnant woman in less than three days triggered a shutdown and violent protests on Wednesday. The angry protesters also made DC Pulwama hostage in the hospital.
People of the town are demanding transfer of the medical and paramedical staff of the hospital.
“There are some doctors and paramedicos who are posted in the hospital for last over a decade. Being favourites of top officials of the department they are not transferred from here. Most of them are practising at private medical shops and nursing homes here and do not bother about the patients in the hospital,” president of the local Auqaf Committee, Bashir Ahmad Qazmi told Kashmir Reader.
“I along with the representatives of different trade unions met Deputy Commissioner on Wednesday evening and put forth our demand before him. He assured us that the hospital staff would be transferred within days,” Qazmi said.
He however said that neither any trade union nor the Auqaf had called for a shutdown in the town.
Meanwhile, sources said that at least 14 doctors are overstaying in the hospital against the norms. “Two doctors are posted in the hospital for last 14 years, three for seven to eight years and nine for four to five years,” the sources said.
DC Pulwama, Niraj Kumar said that he has received the list of doctors overstaying in the hospital. “I am forwarding the list to concerned quarters,” Kumar said.
Chief Medical Officer Pulwama, Dr Fayaz, said, “We have issued orders of transfer of 52 paramedicos who were overstaying in the hospital. The transfer of doctors which is in the competence of Director Health will also be done in next few days,” he said.
Authorities have also constituted a five-member inquiry committee to probe the two deaths. The committee has been asked to submit the report as soon as possible, said Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr Saleem.

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