The probe conducted by the three-member panel constituted by Moga Civil Surgeon has indicted senior gynecologist Dr Manish Gupta and her husband, senior pediatrician Dr Ashish Aggarwal, for remaining absent from emergency duty on the night a woman gave birth on the floor at Dr Mathra Das Pahwa Civil Hospital. The inquiry report adds that the baby, who later died, was not properly cared for even after being delivered on the floor on the intervening night of January 8 and 9. It further says that both the doctors did not check baby or mother even after coming late and went straight to their OPD.
The panel constituting Assistant Civil Surgeon Dr Jaswant Singh and others, has submitted the report to Moga Civil Surgeon Dr Harinder Pal Singh, on the basis of which, the latter has written to Director Health recommending ‘strictest action’ against both the doctors. Final call will, however, be taken by Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, said sources.
A patient Amandeep Kaur from village Bajeke had delivered a baby boy on hospital floor after staff nurse on-duty allegedly refused to take her inside labour room saying there was still time left for delivery. The newborn died six days later, on January 15, at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital.
Speaking to The Indian Express, a senior official who was part of the probe process, said, “The probe has found both the doctors — Dr Manisha Gupta (gynecologist) and Dr Ashish Aggarwal (pediatrician) — were missing from their emergency duty and they did not come to the hospital despite repeated calls even after the baby was delivered on floor. The staff nurse on duty has also provided us with call records from her phone which show that she called both doctors at least six times to inform that baby was unwell but they did not come till morning. They kept guiding her on phone and even after they came on duty next morning around 9 am, they did not check the baby or the mother. They directly went to their OPD and it was only after the next pediatrician on duty — Dr Dalbir Kaur Gaba — came that the baby was shifted to Sick Neonatal Care Unit (SNCU) and later referred to Faridkot as his condition deteriorated. The baby was already suffering from hypothermia and pneumonia by then.”
In the report, the call records from nurse’s phone and CCTV clips showing baby’s birth on floor, have also been attached. “The temperature inside mother’s womb is around 35 to 37 degree Celsius and the baby was born on the cold night at 4 degree Celsius. The temperatures inside labour rooms are maintained at more than 30 degree Celsius because transition from womb to outside world is never easy for the newborns. CCTV clips have shown that baby was delivered outside on floor and then the nurse, Gagandeep Kaur, rushed. They detached umbilical cord there and immediately took baby inside and tried to warm him up but it was too cold,” a source privy to probe details said, adding: “He could not survive because delivery happened in biting cold conditions. The greater blunder was that both doctors despite being informed that baby isn’t well did not bother to come and kept guiding staff nurse on phone. They attended the calls by nurse but said that they will come only in morning.”
The mother, Amandeep Kaur, said: “No doctor attended me or my baby till 9 am after delivery at around 5 am. First I kept screaming in pain and wasn’t taken inside labour room. Later, even after baby was unwell, no senior doctor checked him. When he started having breathing trouble, we asked the staff to check him but nothing was done till 9 am or so.”
Moga Civil Surgeon Dr Harinder Pal Singh told The Indian Express that based on the probe report, he has written to Director Health for “strictest and appropriate action against both doctors”.
He added: “They were on emergency duty from 8 pm till 9 am next morning but did not arrive despite staff calling them multiple times to inform that baby wasn’t well.”
When contacted, Punjab health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said: “I am yet to go through the findings of the report. I would be able to say anything only on Tuesday.”
The Indian Express tried to contact Dr Ashish Aggarwal and Dr Manisha Gupta, but both did not respond to calls and messages despite repeated attempts on their separate mobile numbers.
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