SRINAGAR: In a heart-wrenching incident, a woman, from a far-flung area in the border district of Kupwara, delivered stillborn on a roadside in Srinagar after doctors of a top maternity hospital allegedly did not allow her to stay the night.
The administration has ordered a probe into the incident and attached the lady doctor, who is alleged to have denied permission to the pregnant woman for a night stay at the hospital.
Wazir Ahmad, a resident of Mooree village in Kupwara, had brought her pregnant wife Suraiya to Lal Ded maternity hospital in Srinagar at around 4 pm on Thursday.
"Saraiya went into labour early on Thursday. We live in a remote village, which has been literally cut off from the rest of the state after receiving heavy snowfall. Around 10-15 people carried her on their shoulders and walked through a thick layer of snow for six hours," Hami Zaman, the woman's brother, said.
He said they reached a health centre in Kalaroos, from where doctors referred her to District Hospital Kupwara.
After seeing Suraiya's condition, doctors at the district hospital referred her to Lal Ded maternity hospital in Srinagar in an ambulance.
"We reached the hospital at 4 pm and the doctors kept Suraya under observation. The doctors conducted some tests and, at around 8 pm, told us to leave the hospital along with my sister. We pleaded with them to, at least, let her stay in the hospital for the night so that doctors can attend to her in case of an emergency," Zaman said.
He said the doctor hurled abuses at them, forcing them to leave the hospital at around 8 pm.
"We hired an auto and left for Beimina area of Srinagar, where an acquaintance of ours lives. Around 9 pm, we alighted from the three-wheeler in Bemina area. Shortly after, my sister went into labour and delivered a lifeless baby girl in the bitter cold," Zaman said.
The family is in shock. "I am speechless. I have lost my child. Is this humanity? Is this how doctors should be treating patients? Are doctors supposed to let patients die on the road?" Wazir said.
The incident sparked outrage in the Valley, with people, including medical practitioners, demanding stern action against the doctor who did not allow the patient to stay the night stay at the hospital despite going into labour.
"Heart-wrenching that a pregnant woman was turned away from a hospital, which ironically is named after the great Kashmiri mystic saint Lal Ded. She later gave birth to a stillborn in frigid temperatures. Cannot even begin to fathom the pain & trauma the parents must feel," tweeted former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti.
The relatives and neighbours of the family staged a protest at the city centre, demanding action against the doctors and the hospital's administration.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan ordered a probe into the incident and directed Principal and Dean of Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar to conduct a thorough inquiry so that appropriate action could be against the accused doctor.
Officials said after a preliminary investigation, it has been determined that Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was violated.