THREE WEEKS after the Supreme Court cited medical grounds to reject a plea for allowing a 10-year-old rape victim from Chandigarh to undergo an abortion, the girl on Thursday delivered a baby girl with doctors performing a Caesarean section that lasted two hours.
The surgery was performed at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Chandigarh’s Sector 32, officials said, with the girl being told by her parents and doctors that she was being operated upon “for a stone in her stomach”.
Doctors at the hospital described the condition of the newborn and the mother, who was in the 36th week of her pregnancy, as “stable”. But they added that the rape victim’s parents had submitted a written representation disowning the newborn. The victim’s father had also informed hospital authorities that they should not show the newborn’s face either to him or to his daughter.
Officials said the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) constituted by the Chandigarh Administration to monitor this case has been designated as the newborn’s “custodian”.
”In his letter, the father wrote that the family had no relation with the newborn and that they wouldn’t take custody of the child. In the hospital records pertaining to the birth, the GMCH has mentioned the name of the mother, but the father and the address of the mother was mentioned as C/O CWC,” a senior doctor at GMCH told The Indian Express.
Officials said that the baby, which is “slightly underweight” at 2.10 kg, is being monitored at the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) of the hospital. “The CWC will take care of the newborn once she is out of the ICU. We will keep the newborn under observation for five days,” said the doctor. Three gynaecologists were involved in the delivery.
Referring to the age of the mother, Dr Dasari Harish, chairperson of the committee constituted by GMCH to treat the victim, said, “This could possibly be the first such case in the country.”
Dr A K Janmeja, director and principal, GMCH, told reporters that the baby was born at 9.32 am. “The baby is healthy and weighs 2.10 kg. Since it is a premature delivery and the mother’s age is also less, we have kept the infant in the NICU. In premature deliveries, there is a high risk of neonatal jaundice,” he said.
Describing the case as “extremely unusual”, Dr Janmeja said, “The institute’s doctors had no prior experience of this type of delivery… everything happened normally and in the right condition.”
Asked about the fate of the newborn, Dr. Janmeja said, “We are in constant touch with them [CWC]. It is for CWC to take a call on whether they will give the newborn baby for adoption or keep her at a child-care home”.
Doctors said the newborn is being provided milk from the human milk bank at the hospital, and that psychologists are providing mental support to the mother.
The girl had been subjected to repeated rape allegedly by her maternal uncle, and the pregnancy was first confirmed by doctors at the Government Multi Speciality Hospital (GMSH) in Chandigarh earlier this year.
On July 18, a local court refused permission for an abortion on the basis of a medical report, which warned that there could be “high chances of physical trauma”, considering the girl’s age and health.
On July 28, the Supreme Court turned down a plea for medically terminating the pregnancy following expert advice that an abortion would be dangerous to the girl’s health.
On Thursday, police said the accused in the rape, who is in custody at the Model Jail in Burail, was produced in the district court and his blood samples taken to match the DNA with that of the newborn.