Pregnant woman dies after hospital refuses admission

Correspondent IMPHAL, Aug 6 | Publish Date: 8/6/2020 10:25:34 AM IST

Barely three days after Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh denied refusal by hospitals to admit non-COVID-19 patients, a 20 year-old pregnant woman died on Thursday, allegedly after hospitals refused to admit her for delivery.

The alleged medical negligence on the part of the hospitals prompted the state government to issue an order directing all government and private hospitals to attend to all patients who reach their facility without fail.

The state government has also ordered an enquiry into the incident leading to the death of the pregnant woman. The pregnant woman died at the entrance of Shija hospital, a private healthcare facility where her family knocked for medical help as their last option around 4 am on Thursday.

Family members of the deceased woman, Kachakna Kamei (20) from Puichi village of Noney district had earlier rushed her to at least five hospitals including government and private hospitals. As stated by her husband, Roshan Balang, she was first admitted at Senapati district hospital around 2pm on Wednesday from where she was referred to a hospital with better facility around 10.30 pm as her case was a critical.

On the advice of the doctors, she was brought to Imphal by a hired private vehicle and rushed her to JNIMS hospital, one of the two biggest state run hospitals in Imphal.

They reached JNIMS hospital around 12.30 am. The hospital staff however refused to attend to her and demanded for a COVID-19 negative test result despite repeated pleas on the need for emergency help. 

“In a rare inhumane act of cruelty, the nurses who know the danger more than anybody else refused to give her entry saying there is no doctor to treat her,” Balang alleged.

Having little knowledge of hospitals in Imphal, the family members approached one young man working in a pharmacy near the JNIMS hospital who readily extended his help to rush the pregnant woman to RIMS hospital, Imphal.

Hospital staff at RIMS also refused to admit her and demanded COVID-19 negative test results.

The helpless family members came out of the hospital campus and tried their luck at Imphal hospital, a private hospital located not so far away from the RIMS hospital.

When the hospital staff refused to admit her there too, they tried their luck at two other private hospitals in Imphal area where all of them denied admission despite knowing the critical condition of the woman. 

As a last resort, they went to Shija hospital in the outskirts of Imphal city where she breathed her last around 4 am at the entrance of the emergency ward of the hospital and before they could approach the hospital staff for medical help, the husband said.

“We came out of the hospital with the lifeless body of my wife without entering the casualty ward and without even approaching the hospital staff,” Balang wept. This is not the first case of deaths of patients allegedly due to refusal on the part of the hospitals to admit for medical treatment. 

Deaths of as many as three patients after hospitals refused to admit had been reported in the state in the last few days since many doctors, nurses and hospital staff contracted COVID-19 virus while treating patients.

The latest one being death of a patient from Lilong of Thoubal district at the gate of JNIMS hospital, Imphal where she rushed to as a last resort after other hospitals refused to admit her. On August 3 last, chief minister N Biren Singh denied  allegations of hospitals refusing to admit non-COVID-19 patients for treatment.

He had said that there was no question of neglecting non-COVID-19 patients by the doctors but there were instances of delay in treating the patients while waiting COVID-19 test results.

An order of the state health department has constituted an enquiry committee headed by additional director Dr H Babychand of the department as chairperson to enquire into the incidents leading to the death of the pregnant woman along with her unborn baby.

The enquiry committee will submit its report within a period of one week from the date of constitution of the committee to the health department, the order stated.

On the other hand, the state health department has also issued an order instructing all government and private hospitals in the state to attend promptly to all patients who reach their facility, especially emergency and time bound cases.

The order further asked each hospital and healthcare facility to designate responsible staff to ensure there is no denial of treatment.

To enable prompt COVID testing, the state government will provide rapid antigen kits through the directorate of health services. 

Violation of the order will be viewed very severely and action will be taken under the Manipur Nursing Homes & Clinic Registration Act, 1992. Action may also be taken under Disaster Management Act, 2005 for failure to comply with directions of the state government, the order warned hospitals and healthcare facilities.


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