Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday ordered an inquiry into official responsibility for a woman who gave birth on a road in Srinagar, after doctors at the maternity care hospital Lal Ded (LD) allegedly refused her overnight stay.
The woman, a resident of Kupwara district in north Kashmir, delivered a baby girl on the road, which could not be saved.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan ordered an inquiry to ascertain the factual position after reports of denial of entry of a pregnant woman into Lal Ded Hospital.
A news item was posted on social media which showed the woman delivering her child on the roadside. In his inquiry order Khan mentioned reports that said doctors of LD Hospital “did not allow her to stay in the hospital for a night and did not admit her on Thursday.”
The Divisional Commissioner has asked the Principal/ Dean, Government Medical College Srinagar, to inquire into the matter and submit report in two days.
“This news item needs a thorough enquiry to find out the factual position, so that appropriate action is taken against the concerned, if found liable for such negligence/ act,” the order read.
Khan asked the inquiry officer to treat the matter as most urgent.
“You are accordingly directed to enquire into the matter and furnish the inquiry report along with your explicit comments within two days, treating the matter most urgent,” the order said.
Relatives and neighbours of the woman held a protest march at Press Enclave here on Saturday, demanding action against doctors and the hospital administration.
They also demanded establishment of a maternity care hospital in Kupwara and accommodation at Srinagar for patients from such far-flung areas.
The incident happened on Thursday night after the woman from remote Moore village of Kalaroos area of Kupwara developed labour pain at her home earlier during the day.
A family member of the woman said she was taken to Kalaroos hospital on a cot by a few people as the road was not motorable because of snow.
“The doctors there referred her to Kupwara hospital, from where she was further referred to Lal Ded Hospital in Srinagar,” the family member said.
He said the woman was kept under observation for a few hours at Lal Ded hospital, after which the doctors there allegedly refused her an overnight stay.
“We were told to leave the hospital. A doctor also misbehaved with us. After we left the hospital, she developed severe pain again and delivered a baby girl on the road. The new-born died immediately,” the family member said.
Medical Superintendent, Lal Ded Hospital, Shabir Siddique said there were strict instructions to doctors to keep patients from far-flung areas for overnight stay at the hospital.
“We are ascertaining the facts. If there is any negligence, then we will take strict action,” he said.
Meanwhile, mainstream politicians have demanded action against the doctors.
“I hope the state functionaries working under the command of @jandkgovernor take immediate action in this tragic case,” National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter.
“Heart wrenching that a pregnant woman was turned away from a hospital which ironically is named after the great Kashmiri mystic saint Lal Ded . She later gave birth to a still born in frigid temperatures. Cannot even begin to fathom the pain & trauma the parents must feel,” former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said on Twitter.
J&K Pradesh Congress Committee president GA Mir described the incident as shameful, deplorable and unfortunate.
Peoples Conference (PC) chairman Sajad Lone demanded action in the case. “Woman gives birth on road. It is imperative that action is taken. Overall there is a dire need to reorient health devices to challenges of today,” Lone wrote on Twitter.