The Delhi High Court Friday issued notices to the Delhi government on a plea filed by a school teacher, who lost her nine-month-old foetus when she was admitted to a Delhi government-run hospital for delivery. In her PIL, the woman alleged that “crumbling infrastructure and crippling dearth of medical facilities” were the reasons behind the death.
The bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar sought a reply within four weeks from the state and central governments on the PIL filed by Madhu Bala, a teacher from Karawal Nagar.
In December 2015, the petitioner was admitted to Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital, where she alleged that the hospital did not perform surgery “in the garb of non-availability” of operation theatre (OT). This resulted in the death of the foetus.
“She lost her foetus due to the reckless and criminally negligent treatment meted out to her. She was admitted to the general ward, which had smelly linen and beds infested with cockroaches and rats… On almost every bed, there were two pregnant women. Not a single doctor or paramedical staff attended to them for considerable duration. They were treated as though they were non-entities, without a fraction of compassion or ethics,” the petition filed by advocate Prashant Manchanda, on behalf of the woman, stated.
The woman further alleged that she was told to monitor “foetus movement and blood pressure”. “The unskilled doctors — most of them only trainees — were only interested in completing the paperwork rather than doing their substantial duty of check-ups… At 7.30 pm, the doctor advised NST (non-stress test) due to baseline BPM (beats per minute) of 100-106, and no beat-to-beat variability. However, no operation was performed in the garb of non-availability of OT. As a result, the foetus died,” the plea claimed. The PIL was filed two years after the incident, as the petitioner stated that she conducted her “own investigation” of the hospital.
The woman has now submitted videos she had taken, which allegedly show “whole wards infested with cockroaches and other insects prowling on newborn babies and their mothers, overwhelming shortage of beds and ruthless, adamant and arrogant behaviour of staff”. “The recklessness and inhuman treatment meted out to her has deprived her of motherhood… It also raises a fundamental question that if it can happen to an educated woman like the petitioner, then what would be the plight of thousands of impoverished citizens admitted in such hospitals,” the plea said.