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Chhattisgarh: Woman carried in cooking vessel across river to hospital

Her husband – Harish Yalam – complained the stillbirth was the result of hospital staff waiting for the duty doctor to arrive for hours to look at his wife – Lakshmi Yalam. The incident took place on July 13.

Written by Gargi Verma | Bijapur |
Updated: July 23, 2020 10:57:15 am
Lakshmi Yalam being carried across the river in a utensil. (Express)

A pregnant and close-to-term woman was carried in a cooking vessel across a river to reach the nearest hospital, nearly 15 km away, in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district and gave birth to a still-born baby, allegedly due to negligence of the staff at the community hospital in Bhopalpatnam town, according to her husband.

Her husband – Harish Yalam – complained the stillbirth was the result of hospital staff waiting for the duty doctor to arrive for hours to look at his wife – Lakshmi Yalam. The incident took place on July 13.

Harish said he has lodged a complaint with the block medical officer (BMO) and will meet the collector if no action is taken.

BMO Ajay Ramteke told the media that showcause notices have been served on three hospital staff. “We have received the complaint and are investigating what happened that night. Due action will be taken,” he said.

Harish said he has not heard from the officials even a week on.

Married four years ago, Lakshmi, 35, and Harish, 33, were expecting their first child. Residents of Mamidguda village, about 40 km from district headquarters Bijapur, they were staying at Lakshmi’s parents’ home in Minur village since it is closer to health centre in Bhopalpatnam, a tehsil town in Bijapur.

Minur, under the group gram panchayat of Gorla, is 43 km from Bijapur city and 15 km from the tehsil. The Chintawagu river flows between Gorla and Minur.

Harish said the showers had swollen the river and the riverbed was slippery. “We had to carry Lakshmi in a big utensil, with wooden poles across it. The ambulance met us at Gorla. We reached the Bhopalpatnam hospital by 3 pm (on July 13),” he said.

He said Lakshmi complained of pain but the nurses kept waiting for a normal delivery. “The afternoon-shift nurses kept visiting the room, but whenever we asked for updates we were told to be patient. The shift changed around 8 pm. When Lakshmi started crying in pain, I asked the on-duty staff to refer us to Bijapur, if they couldn’t help,” Harish said. “But they asked me to stay calm and said childbirth would take place at its time.”

Around 9 pm, he said, as Lakshmi’s blood pressure started dropping, nurses came in. “She was in distress, but they (nurses) started scolding her and pushed her stomach to induce labour.” Suddenly, they stopped and called for the on-duty doctor, who, Harish claimed, had not reported for duty yet. Dr Gopi Kishan, he alleged, arrived around 10.30 pm and operated on Lakshmi.

It was a stillbirth.

“He (Dr Kishan) said had there been a delay of half-an-hour we could have lost Lakshmi too,” Harish said. He added local residents need access to better doctors, “who are not negligent”.

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