A pregnant woman hailing from the remote Mooree area in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district was forced to deliver the baby on the road after doctors at Srinagar’s Lal Ded Hospital — the largest government maternity facility in the Valley — did not allow her to stay in the hospital overnight and refused to admit her on Thursday.
According to Srinagar’s MeT Department, the temperature in the city fell as low as -0.7C on Thursday night. Suraya Begum delivered a girl at around 8.30 pm, and the baby died soon after birth.
The hospital has ordered an inquiry and has formed a committee to investigate the case.
The woman’s brother, Hami Zaman, told The Indian Express on Friday that Suraya had developed pain on Thursday at their home. The area has around 3 feet of snow and the roads between Mooree and Kalaroos — the nearest hospital — are not motorable. “Around 15 people put my sister on a charpoy and we walked by foot for six hours to reach the hospital (in Kalaroos, around 14 km away),” he said.
From there, doctors referred her to Kupwara hospital, from where she was further referred to Lal Ded Hospital in Srinagar.
At Lal Ded, the family said Suraya was kept under observation for a few hours, but then hospital authorities refused to admit her.
“From 4 pm to 8 pm, my sister was inside the emergency ward but she was not admitted. Around 8 pm, the doctor asked her to leave the hospital, saying she had no pain. We requested them multiple times to allow us to stay at the hospital because we have come from a far away place, but they didn’t listen. They mocked us and asked to leave the hospital,” Zaman said.
He said the family then headed for Srinagar’s Bemina area, where a person they know lives. “As we reached Bemina at around 8.30 pm, my sister developed severe pain again and she delivered a baby girl on the road. The newborn died immediately,” Zaman said.
Later, they contacted health officials in Kalaroos and narrated their story.
Dr Firdous Ahmad, Block Medical Officer (BMO) Kalaroos told The Indian Express that he contacted doctors at Lal Ded after hearing the family’s ordeals. “They (the hospital authorities) then sent an ambulance and the woman was admitted for night,” said Ahmad. “We are pained by this incident. Since we couldn’t handle the case here because it was serious, we had no option but to refer the patient further.”
Meanwhile, Dr Shabir Siddique, Medical Superintendent at Lal Ded told The Indian Express that they have ordered an inquiry into the incident. “It is very unfortunate. We have already issued clear instructions to the doctors that any patient from far away places shouldn’t be sent back at night,” he said, adding that a committee has been formed which will investigate the incident.