Punjab: Dalit pregnant woman forced to give birth in parking lot of hospital

The hospital denies claims, but this is the second such instance this year.

On 10th October, Moga Civil Hospital, Punjab, a 19-year-old Dalit pregnant woman had to give birth in the parking lot. The family alleged that not only did they deny admission, staff also misbehaved with them because of their caste.

According to the hospital, this was because she was a “high-risk case” and had low haemoglobin levels. So, they referred to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, which is 60 km away. The woman was already in labour pain when she had gone to the hospital at 5 am.

Narender Kumar, brother of the woman, Ankita told the Indian Express:

“We were turned out of hospital and around 5.45 am, when we were still in the parking area, she screamed and collapsed on the floor. She delivered on the floor without any help from the staff.

After the delivery, the stray dogs licked blood on the floor. If this is how, patients are treated here then what kind of government hospital is this.”

After the delivery, she was referred to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot where the condition of mother and baby was stated to be stable.

Dr. Simrat Khosa stated:

“First the family agreed to take her there and we made them sit and wait for the ambulance. Immediately, another patient arrived and entire staff got busy in conducting her delivery. Later, Ankita’s family said they want to go to private hospital, not GGSMCH Faridkot and they signed consent document for the same. After signing the document, patient and her family left without informing anyone.”

However, the family alleged that the thumb impressions were forcibly taken and that they wouldn’t have been able to afford private healthcare.

The Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu announced that both doctors indicted in the report were ‘suspended’, but later revoked his orders.

Such incidents are extremely common across the country; in June, a woman was refused entry to 15 hospitals. In April, a pregnant woman was not allowed to enter the hospital because she was Muslim. In September, notices were sent to a hospital in Manipur for denying entry to a pregnant woman for being an Adivasi.

 

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