The Delhi High Court has directed the AAP government to inquire whether there was any medical negligence by the Aruna Asaf Ali Hospital, accused of denying admission to a pregnant woman having labour pain that resulted in her giving birth in an autorickshaw while returning home. Justice Vibhu Bakhru issued the direction to the Delhi government and its Department of Health and Family Welfare on the 25-year-old woman’s plea for Rs 5 lakh compensation on account of alleged negligence by the hospital in providing treatment to her.
The court said if the facts, as stated by the woman, are correct, “there is a good ground to conduct an inquiry” to determine whether there was any medical negligence. “Respondent no 3 (Department of Health) is directed to institute a proper inquiry to determine whether there has been any medical negligence on the part of the attending doctor(s).
“The inquiry shall be completed within a period of twelve weeks from today. Needless to mention that if the said findings are indicative of medical negligence, a complaint would also be made to the Delhi Medical Council,” the court said and disposed of the woman’s plea. It also directed that the amount of Rs 7,000 spent by the woman on a midwife, to assist with her delivery, and medicines be reimbursed to her.
In her plea, Pinki claimed that she had gone to the hospital around 9.30 am on November 17 after “experiencing labour pain along with the rupture of membranes”. However, the doctor on duty refused to admit her and only gave injections to reduce the pain, saying that the cervix was not yet dilated and therefore delivery was not due, the petition, filed through advocates Sija Nair Pal and Deepak Kumar Singh, said.
With no other option, she took an auto to return home and on the way, near ISBT Kashmiri Gate Bus Station, she delivered the baby, the petition said and added that after reaching home a midwife was called “to perform the rest of the delivery”.