Turned away by two govt. hospitals, day-old baby dies
A day-old baby born prematurely died for want of treatment after two well-equipped Central Government hospitals closed their doors on him and a third one made him wait for an hour.
A senior Central Government official said an inquiry has been ordered into why Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital, among the largest in paediatric care in Asia, and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital did not admit the baby who was in a critical condition.
Born to a 19-year-old mother on Sunday at a private nursing home – Muskan, in Buddh Vihar — the baby needed ventilator support and the family could not pay Rs. 10,000 a day for his treatment. The next day, the father decided to take the child to a government hospital.
“On Monday afternoon [around 12 noon], I took the baby to Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital but the doctors there told me that no bed or ventilator was available. At RML, the doctors examined the baby and said he was too critical and could not be treated there,” said baby’s father Dheeraj Kumar, who works in a dye factory and earns less than Rs.5,000 a month.
Around 3 p.m., the baby was taken to Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash Hospital where the family had to wait for another hour.
“Waiting in the ambulance, my child’s breathing became shallow and we could feel his life ebbing away. By the time the doctors got their act together the baby was dead,” the father said. “He died because I was not rich enough to pay the hospitals to keep him alive. Would a rich man’s or a politician’s child be given the same treatment,” asked Dheeraj.
Responding to the allegation of “negligence and apathy”, Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain said: “We are looking into the incident. Two of the hospitals are under the Central Government and by the time the child came to LNJP he was very critical. Treatment was offered here. The matter will be investigated and I would like to know why after four hours, no hospital treated this baby.”