An HIV-positive pregnant woman admitted to a district hospital in Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgarh was allegedly denied treatment by doctors, and this led to the death of both her newborn babies.
A woman from Pipra village of Tikamgarh district was admitted to the district hospital at 10 pm on Tuesday night.
According to the media report, carried on September 7, 2017, the 24-year-old woman from a village located about 70 km from the district headquarters was admitted to the hospital on September 5, 2017.
The doctors and nurses posted on duty took blood samples of the woman, and they found out symptoms of Hepatitis and HIV in her blood.
On seeing the report, hospital staff asked the family members of the woman to take her out. Family members requested for her to be taken in in the morning but hospital staff did not listen to them, and HIV infested woman was removed from the women’s ward.
During this time, the woman gave birth to twin daughters outside the hospital. Due to HIV infection, doctors and nurses posted on duty did not attend to the woman or her babies even after repeated requests from the family.
Both the newborn baby girls died.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) stated that it has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports and termed this incident ‘cruel’. The NHRC has issued a notice to the government of Madhya Pradesh over this incident (read press release here).
The Commission has observed that the woman may have been HIV positive, but she was in grave pain, begging for help at the doorsteps of a government-run hospital and the doctors and staff, instead of having a humane approach, pushed her out of the maternity ward, where she continued to lay writhing in pain. It is indeed the worst example of cruelty by the doctors and hospital staff.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Tikamgarh District Hospital Civil Surgeon Ramesh Dandotiya denied the allegations that the woman was refused treatment owing to her HIV positive status. He said that the babies were premature and weighed 500 gram each and one of the baby girls was infected with HIV, and twin could not be saved due to premature delivery.
“We have provided counselling sessions to the woman, and she is being treated well in the hospital. A medical team from Bhopal is conducting an investigation into the incident and staff will be punished if found guilty,” he added.
The woman and her husband, however, contest the hospital’s claims. The husband told NDTV, “My wife and the newborn twin girls were not given treatment at the district hospital after she was found to be HIV positive.”
“The doctors and staff told me that they would not treat her because of the HIV infection. Our newborn girls could have been saved had they been treated in time,” he added.
The woman said, “After the delivery, the doctors and nurses did not even touch the children. My family pled with the doctors to do the children’s checkups several times, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. Ultimately, because of the negligence of the doctors and nurses, my children died.”