March 6, 2021 11:23:56 pm
A three-year-old girl admitted to a private hospital in Prayagraj last month with acute intestinal obstruction died outside the facility’s gate on Friday, days after she was allegedly handed over to her parents with open cuts following a surgery. The family alleged that the girl’s surgical wounds were not stitched up as they could not pay the hospital bill.
While Prayagraj District Magistrate (DM) Bhanu Chandra Goswami on Saturday ordered an inquiry by an Additional DM and the district Chief Medical Officer (CMO), the doctor who performed the surgery has been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The family of Khushi Mishra, whose father is an agricultural labourer, said she was admitted to the United Medicity hospital on February 15 after she complained of abdominal pain. “The hospital admitted her and on February 24 a surgery was performed. With not much relief, they performed another operation on her on March 3. As her condition deteriorated, they referred the girl and we took her to the Children’s Hospital in Prayagraj the same day,” said the girl’s uncle Suraj Mishra.
He added, “At the Children’s Hospital they admitted her, but when the doctor opened the bandage and saw her all the cuts were open with no stitching. The doctor said that in this condition the girl would not live for more than two to three days. We brought her back home in an ambulance but as she was crying in pain we again took her to United Medicity on Friday. There, we were kept waiting outside the hospital gate for around three hours. They locked the main gate. The girl died there.”
Suraj Mishra said the hospital had demanded about Rs 5 lakh for the two surgeries, but the family could deposit only Rs 2 lakh. “We wanted some more time for clearing the dues but they handed her over without even giving stitches after we failed to clear the dues,” he added.
After a video and photos of the girl went viral on social media, the district administration ordered the inquiry. The girl’s family members have alleged that they are being pressured to drop their complaint, claiming that the hospital owner has close relations with some political leaders.
“A detailed probe has been ordered after taking cognizance of the social media post that a minor girl was let go from the private hospital with an open abdomen. It is a serious matter and we are trying to find out all details related to the girl’s death,” read the statement that the DM issued.
The hospital, however, denied the family’s allegations. In a statement, the United group’s public relations officer said, “We conducted an operation on February 24, then on March 3 and later we referred her to a child specialist department of Swaroop Rani Nehru hospital, where she died,” read the statement.
The hospital claimed that the final bill amounted to Rs 1.25 lakh but the girl’s parents were able to deposit only Rs 6,370. It claimed to possess all the receipts and documents, and said, “We did not hand over the minor with open cuts, the family’s allegations are baseless.”
Based on a complaint by the girl’s father, Mukesh Mishra, the police in Kaushambi district’s Pipri, where the girl’s family lives, registered an FIR against Dr Ankit Gupta of United Medicity under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder). The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Saturday reportedly took cognizance of the incident and asked DM Bhanu Chandra Goswami for a report.
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