A 30-YEAR-OLD woman, who was eight months pregnant with her second child and had complained of “breathlessness due to rising blood pressure”, died Friday after she failed to get admission in eight hospitals across Noida in a span of about 12 hours, her family has alleged.
The Gautam Buddh Nagar district administration has ordered a probe into the alleged incident. The woman, a resident of Khora in Ghaziabad, is survived by her husband, who is a private sector employee, and their five-year-old son.
The woman’s brother, Shailendra Kumar, told The Sunday Express that he took his sister Neelam, her husband Vijendar Singh, and another family member to at least six hospitals in his autorickshaw and approached two more in an ambulance they “had to hire since she needed oxygen supply”.
Most of the hospitals said they did not have beds to spare, he claimed.
The hospitals listed by the family included Sharda Hospital, a dedicated Covid facility, which said that the patient was “admitted briefly”, stabilised using a ventilator and referred to another hospital.
Another was Fortis Hospital, which said that Singh “refused resuscitation and ventilation support” and “declined… medical advice to transfer the patient to another hospital” in an Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) ambulance. “The patient was taken out of our hospital in an auto. We empathise with the family in their hour of grief,” the hospital said.
Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS), where the woman was declared brought dead, described the incident as “absolutely unfortunate” and said the facility was “overburdened with patients”.
The office of District Magistrate Suhas L Y said in a statement: “On Friday, a pregnant woman was denied admission in several hospitals because of which she died. The DM has ordered a probe into the incident which will be headed by CMO (Chief Medical Officer) and ADM (Additional District Magistrate) Finance. The officers have been ordered to complete the inquiry at the earliest and take appropriate action.”
According to Kumar, the woman’s brother, she “complained of breathlessness and her BP shot up, which was not uncommon during her pregnancy”. “She was earlier treated at Shivalik Hospital in Ghaziabad for five days and was discharged on June 4. But our ordeal began the moment we left our house in my auto,” he said.
“We went to the ESI Hospital in Sector 24, which referred her to another hospital. We took her to the District Hospital in Sector 30 where we were told that there was no bed available. We rushed to Shivalik Hospital, but were told that she would not be admitted,” said Kumar.
Officials at Shivalik Hospital said they were unable to provide information regarding the incident “due to change in duty rosters”.
The family claimed that Neelam was then rushed to Fortis and Jaypee hospitals but were allegedly told that “they do not have the capacity to admit her at the moment”.
Authorities in Jaypee Hospital did not respond to calls and messages from The Indian Express seeking comment.
In its statement, Fortis Hospital said: “The patient was brought to our hospital in a critical condition at around 11 am yesterday… Due to unavailability of room in the ICU isolation ward, she was provided oxygen & nebulization in the waiting area. The husband of the patient was counselled by doctors about the need for resuscitation and transfer to another hospital in an Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) ambulance without any delay. However, the husband refused resuscitation and ventilation support. He also declined our insistence and strong medical advice to transfer the patient to another hospital in an ACLS ambulance.”
Kumar said that “by this time, Neelam was in need of an oxygen cylinder”.
“We went to Sharda Hospital and hired a private ambulance for approximately Rs 5,000. After Sharda, we went to GIMS and begged for admission but were denied. It had been more than 10 hours and we had been roaming around without proper food or water. It was hell. We tried Max Hospital but got the same answer,” said Kumar.
An official from Sharda Hospital said: “She was admitted in our hospital briefly in the Emergency Ward on Friday afternoon and she was stabilized using a ventilator. Only after her condition became better, she was referred to another hospital following which the family took her in an ambulance.”
Max Hospital did not respond to calls and messages from The Indian Express seeking comment.
“We eventually returned to GIMS but by that time Neelam had died. We requested that the body be kept in the hospital, and doctors declared her dead after examining her,” Kumar said.
Dr Rakesh Gupta, Director, GIIMS, said: “The hospital has been overburdened with patients and we were informed later that he came with the ambulance till outside. A possible lack of communication prevented immediate admission since we have excellent doctors to take care of pregnancy cases. It is absolutely unfortunate. Later, the body was brought to our hospital.”
As for the family, Kumar says “there is no bringing back the dead and our only appeal is for justice…My sister died waiting”.
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