A year after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh to a labourer who suffered an amputation and Rs 50,000 to another tribal woman in Nandurbar who was forcefully made to pay private hospital’s bill, the state government is yet to abide by the NHRC ruling and pay the victims. The state health department was held responsible for both the cases presented to NHRC in a public hearing in January 2016. Labourer Suresh Naik (27) suffered a crushed feet in March 2015 after a truck ran over him in Taloda. He was admitted at Taloda sub-district hospital and referred to Nandurbar district hospital for treatment. “For four days, his bandages were changed only twice. No infection control was carried out,” said Ranjana Kandhere, who presented his case to NHRC.
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Naik suffered gangrene due to infection and had to get his right leg amputated days after the accident. The NHRC observed that state health department was negligent in treating Naik which led to his amputation. It directed Maharashtra government to pay him Rs 2 lakh and provide a prosthetic limb.
While Naik was fitted with a prosthesis last year, he has been awaiting the compensation since January 2016 when NHRC ruling came. He is the only breadwinner and has a wife and children to look after. Currently, he works as a labourer despite a prosthetic limb to feed his family.
Like him, Damnibai Pawara (25) is also awaiting monetary compensation from state government, which was held responsible for admitting her in a private hospital without her permission. In 2015, Pawara suffered complications during delivery and visited the nearest primary health centre in Nandurbar for a caesarean. With no doctor at the center, she was referred to another health post through 108 emergency service ambulance. Pawara had alleged that the ambulance took her to private hospital without her approval. Her baby passed away by the time she could be operated.
The tribal was later forced to sell her silver jewellery to foot a bill of Rs 35,000 at the hospital. While state health department argued that she was taken to a private facility since government hospital was far away, the NHRC directed the latter to pay Rs 50,000 to the patient since there was no signed consent. Pawara has two children and works at a farm with her husband. Along with Naik, she has attempted to fast track the compensation amount in vain. She claims she not only lost her child but also all her jewellery.
“It has been a year and they are still waiting,” said Latika Rajput, from Narmada Bachao Andolan, that first complained on behalf of both patients. The NHRC has also brought to the fore the need to upgrade services in rural hospitals and primary health centres.
According to Nandurbar district health officer Dr R Pawar, the delay is due to paper work. “The process is in its last stage. They will be given compensation,” he said.