A day after a case of atrocity was filed against the Shiv Sena member of Parliament, Hemant Patil, for making the acting dean of a government hospital in Nanded clean a washroom, Maharashtra Police have registered a first information report against the acting dean, Dr Shyamrao Wakode, and the head paediatrician of the hospital, for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, following the death of a 21-year-old woman and her newborn earlier this week.
The woman, Anjali Waghmare, was admitted to the government hospital on September 30 and delivered her baby on Sunday. According to the FIR filed in the case, the Waghmares were told that Anjali had had a normal delivery and both mother and baby were doing well, until the moment they received the news that the two were critical.
The acting dean, Dr Wakode, and the head paediatrician, have been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 34 (common intention).
Details On Case Involving Woman And Her Baby's Death
As per the FIR lodged by the husband of the deceased, Anjali was admitted to the hospital at 8pm on September 30 and she delivered a baby girl around 1am on October 1. Her family was informed that the delivery was normal and both the mother and baby were doing well.
“Everything was fine after delivery but, later that morning, doctors said that Anjali had started bleeding and the baby’s health too had begun to deteriorate. So, we were asked to get medicines, blood bags and other necessities from outside. However, when we came back to hand over the medicines and blood bags, the doctor was unavailable,” said Kamaji Tambe, Anjali’s father.
Tambe further said that in view of the condition of his daughter and the newborn, a relative met the dean, Dr Wakode, and requested him to provide doctors and start treatment immediately. “However, they (hospital authorities) deliberately made him sit and wait. They did not send a doctor or a staff nurse to check on Anjali,” Tambe claimed.
“The doctors declared Anjali’s baby dead and handed over the body to us at 6am on October 2. Two days later, Anjali too was declared dead, at 10.30am on October 4,” the complaint said.
Tambe has alleged that the dean did not let the doctors treat Anjali. The latter had asked the family to get medicines worth Rs 45,000 from outside, he said in the complaint. He has further claimed that many patients died before his eyes, for lack of doctors, nurses and medicines.
The Free Press Journal’s attempts to contact Dr Wakode proved futile. Anjali’s family, which refused to initially accept her body, claimed she had given birth to a girl but hospital records said it was a boy, one among the 11 neonates (less than a month old) who died at the hospital on October 2, when 24 deaths were reported in 24 hours.
Doctors said Anjali’s baby had suffered meconium aspiration syndrome and that its brain and other organs did not get enough oxygen and nutrients before, during or right after birth.
Anjali’s husband, Manchak, said they had first taken her to a primary healthcare centre, which had referred her to a sub-district hospital. But later, they shifted her to the Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital, since there was no improvement in her condition.
Meanwhile, the report submitted by the six-member committee set up to probe the 31 deaths in just 72 hours, says that there was a lack of resources and manpower at the Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital. The report further revealed that of the 24 patients who died between September 30 and October 1, 17 were in critical condition with multiple comorbidities when they were referred from private and peripheral government hospitals. Of the 24, 11 were neonates who were on ventilator support. The Bombay high court said the reasons given for deaths ‘cannot be accepted’, even as it took suo motu cognizance of the matter.
Violation Of Human Rights
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has observed that media reports on the incidents, if true, amount to a violation of human rights relating to the life and health of the victims due to negligence by public authorities, which is a matter of concern.
The NHRC has sent a notice to the chief secretary, Government of Maharashtra, over the reported deaths of several patients at the two state-run hospitals in Nanded and Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar and ordered him to submit an explanation with a complete report within four weeks. The report should include the status of the infrastructure along with the requisite and present strength of doctors, nurses and other staff in the government-run hospitals, as well as the status of the medicines and diagnostic facilities available for the patients, the NHRC has specified.
Special Rapporteur Deputed For Hospital Visits
The commission has also deputed its special rapporteur, P N Dixit, to visit the two state-run hospitals in Nanded and Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar. He is expected to identify the causes and reasons for such a large number of deaths of newborn babies and others. He will inspect the wards, toilets and premises of the hospitals to identify the shortcomings in hygiene, safe and clean environment, besides taking stock of medicines, oxygen and medical facilities, including the strength of doctors and nurses and suggest remedial measures in a comprehensive report within eight weeks.
The commission has also asked the state government, through its chief secretary, to inform about the action taken against the public servants responsible, as well as the status of the relief and rehabilitation provided to the aggrieved families. Further, it has asked the state government to list the steps it has taken or proposes to take in order to prevent the recurrence of any such eventuality in the future.