On Thursday, Ashish Kumar and his wife Varsha happily walked out of a hospital with a baby girl — a year after they lost their twins due to alleged medical negligence by doctors at Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.
On December 1, 2017, Varsha gave birth to a boy and girl. Hospital officials said that while the female was stillborn, the male twin was “unfortunately handed over without any sign of life”. On their way to the funeral, the family discovered that the boy was still alive. The child was put on ventilator support, but died five days later.
Haunted by the deaths, the couple has finally found closure. “This is the happiest day of my life. The vision of my stillborn babies kept me awake for many nights… now I think I can sleep peacefully. God has given us the most precious gift… and filled the void in our life,” said Ashish.
His hands still shake when he recollects the day he went to cremate the children, only to find one of them moving. “The pain of losing our babies was inexpressible, but we will now dedicate our lives to our daughter and her dreams,” said Ashish. When the doctors broke the news of her pregnancy to Varsha, all she wanted to know was if her daughter was alright.
“We prayed for a healthy child. The last few months were stressful as we did not want anything to happen to our baby,” said Varsha, fighting back tears as she holds her daughter. With the due date for delivery set for December 21, the family said they were extra cautious while choosing a hospital. “The doctor handling the case was aware about our history. We trusted her and came to a hospital near our home…,” said Varsha.
The family is still fighting the case in the finance commissioner’s court. “My fight against the injustice will continue… I won’t rest till the doctors responsible for this are punished,” said Ashish.
In May this year, the Delhi Medical Council (DMC) gave a clean chit to the doctors handling the case after the executive committee of the council found procedural lapse in the entire investigation, which, the committee said was due to the absence of standard operating guidelines. The matter is still pending with Finance Commissioner’s Court.
The Delhi government, in December last year, had cancelled the license of the hospital’s branch in Shalimar Bagh after a preliminary report submitted by a panel of doctors had found the hospital guilty of not having followed the prescribed medical norms in the case. The license was later reinstated after the Finance Commissioner extended the stay on Delhi government’s order. The matter is still pending and the next hearing is scheduled for December 1. The three-member panel formed by the government had submitted the report after scrutinising hospital records and meeting the staff concerned.
At their Nihal Vihar home, the newborn received a grand welcome. “Everyone says she looks like me. I want to name her ‘Garima’ (dignity/ pride). She will make all of us proud,” said Varsha. Investigation in the case was transferred from the northwest district police to the Crime Branch.