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Rescued from flesh trade, woman dies of medical neglect

Several questions were raised regarding the quality of medical treatment provided at homes for rescued minors and adult women in Hadapasar after a 22-year-old Bangladeshi national Ruby Shaikh (name changed) died of tuberculosis (TB) on the same day of her admission to Sassoon hospital on May 18. 

While doctors said Ruby was already in the terminal stage of TB when she was brought to the hospital, rescue home authorities where she was lodged claimed ignorance about noticing any kind of TB symptoms exhibited by her. They said she had become weak after delivering a baby boy six months ago.


Tragic: Asha Deep Rescue Foundation in Hadapsar where the victim lived. Pic/krunal Gosavi

Ruby was rescued from flesh trade during the raid conducted by officials Faraskhana police station on March 6 last year. Ever since her rescue, Shanti was staying at the Rescue Foundation.

Superintendent of the Rescue Foundation Shiny Padiyara said Ruby had become weak after the delivery and none of the staffers working at the home suspected that she was suffering from TB, and the decision to shift her to Sassoon was taken on Sunday after her condition became critical.

Dr Yamini Adbe, a member of the International Health Task Force, said, “Pulmonary TB is a prolonged disease and it is evident that the patient must be carrying it for months or years together. If she delivered six months ago, then how come TB went unnoticed? At the time delivery, routine pathological investigations should have revealed it.”

She said authorities managing the home had exhibited negligence because a TB patient shows symptoms like haemoptysis (blood in cough), rise in boy temperature during evening, severe cachexia (weight loss), prostration and anorexia.

“These symptoms will not go unnoticed. This case poses grave questions on what kind of medical treatment is being offered to inmates at these homes,” Adbe said.

Following Shanti’s death, Padiyara contacted Bangaldesh High Commission. “The commission gave an NOC to perform final rites on her body as per Muslim tradition. Her mother too had given her consent.”

But sources claimed that Ruby’s mother had requested the foundation that her body be sent back to Bangladesh for burial. Padiyara, however, clarified that no such demand was made. Child Welfare Committee member Anjali Vipat said Ruby’s baby would be sent back to Bangladesh Rehabilitation Centre, as the authorities did receive permission to send him back. 

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