Apathy kills Agra woman’s unborn baby

The healthcare facility where she was taken after going into labour, asked her husband to first get surgical gloves as they were not available there

PregnantImage Courtesy:timesofindia

In a shocking display of outright callousness, a Community Health Centre (CHC) in Agra, refused to help a pregnant woman who had gone into labour until her husband supplied them with surgical gloves! The unborn baby died after the mother was denied medical assistance.

39-year-old Anil Kumar Chauhan, a farmer from Chawali  village that falls under Etmadpur block, had taken his 35-year-old wife Guddi Devi to the CHC on May 18 at 9:30 PM in an ambulance after she suffered labour pains. A woman staff at the CHC then examined her and asked Anil to return home with her at the time and asked them to come back to the next day.

Anil told The Times of India, “I pleaded with them to admit her as she was in pain and start the treatment, but to no avail. Later, I called the Etmadpur sub-divisional magistrate, Jyoti Rai, for help. On getting directions from the SDM, the staffers at the CHC misbehaved with me for complaining to the officer.”

If this was not enough, the CHC staff allegedly asked the distressed couple to bring surgical gloves to begin her treatment because they were not available at the hospital. Chauhan recounted that around 11 PM, the CHC staff asked him to bring surgical gloves. However, even after looking for an hour, he couldn’t find any as it was late and the night curfew due the Covid-19 lockdown was on. At around 3 AM, he returned home with his wife. In the early hours on May 19, Guddi fell unconscious and Anil rushed her to a private hospital. When the doctors there conducted an ultrasound, they told Anil and Guddi that their child had died in the womb.

“My child could have been saved if she was provided treatment was provided treatment at the CHC. I hope authorities will take cognizance of the matter and ensure strict action,” Anil said.

Inquiry ordered

Following Anil Kumar’s complaint, Etmadpur SDM issued a notice to the CHC administration. District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh also ordered a probe into the incident. However, child rights activist told the publication that since April at least five children had died in Agra due to unavailability of timely medical assistance, the district administration only ordered inquiries but took no action.

In May, after suffering excruciating stomach pain, a 12-year-old child lost his life when six hospital allegedly refused to treat him fearing he might be Covid-19 positive. An eight-month-old too lost his life after he was turned away by three private hospitals in Agra.

In the month of May itself, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had issued notices to the Agra District Magistrate after a six-month-old died due to the unavailability of an ambulance. It has issued another notice to the UP’s health department in the matter of two children carrying firewood in a discarded PPE suit which the kids found in a pile of garbage in a graveyard. PPE suits are to be sprayed with disinfectants and disposed of in an electric furnace after use.

The medical system of Uttar Pradesh seems to be crumbling if one is to go by these incidents. With no action taken against authorities who are in charge of saving lives, it looks like the citizens are set to suffer more till the lockdown is in place.


Is it enough to be ‘not as bad as Italy or France’?
The Deaths of Migrant Workers in India 



Related Articles