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Hyderabad: Baby loses life to hospital negligence but there is no punitive action

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Hyderabad: One of the most lucrative businesses is in the field of health management.  If you have money or the capacity to raise money open a hospital.  The caliber of the hospital is immaterial.  The owner can make claims about the specialty departments he has and run his or her business without fear of any action from the government.

Because the owner is hand in glove with the inspecting authorities who shut their eyes to areas that are of utmost importance for the lives of the patients.

We have come across with an incident that had a chilling effect on our spine.

A few weeks ago a pregnant woman was taken to a well-known hospital in Nanal Nagar.  The doctors taking care of the patient said that there appears no reason for any worry because the mother and baby inside the womb are in good health.

After a few hours of pains, the woman from the Old City gave birth to a male baby. But there came a shock.  The baby had a weak heart. He needed Level Three treatment. The doctors said the hospital does not have the facilities for that level of treatment.  They could treat up to Level One deficiency at the hospital.

Announcing this the doctors should have offered an alternative medical facility but they did not. The father said he was ready to pay for whatever expenses required.

But the hospital left the father to fend for himself.  He ran from pillar to post to make arrangements for an ambulance to take the baby to the hospital identified by the doctors. There were three ambulances parked in the hospital.  If the doctors had taken interest they could have immediately arranged an ambulance.  But they said it was the responsibility of the father to find the vehicle and take the baby.

When the father went to get the ambulance, he was shocked to know that none of the ambulances have a driver. 

On making frantic phone calls and pleading with the management one of the drivers came in about half an hour. 

The ambulance did not have the facility required to transport such a critical patient.  However, the patient was taken to a hospital in Banjara Hills area where the father was informed that he has brought a dead baby.

There was ruckus at the Nanal Nagar hospital when the baby’s lifeless body was taken back to that hospital.  Except for a shouting match between the management and the relatives of the baby nothing came off.

One other strange part of the story is that the baby’s father was made to pay Rs 63,000 before allowing the distraught mother to go home.

While the entire fault lies with the hospital and its management, the father cannot shirk his responsibility.  He did not report the case of utter negligence that time or later against the hospital. He could have gone to the police and also the medical department authorities.

The hospital is still running and maybe minting money daily.

When this writer spoke with the father, he said God had given his child only that much life.  He confessed that he was trying to recover from the tragedy but the condition of his wife still bad.

Is there a way to handle such cases?  Are there any organisations that would take cases of gross negligence and get such hospitals penalized?

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( With inputs from www.siasat.com )

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