New Delhi: In a shocking incident of insensitivity, a day-old baby born prematurely with respiratory complications died in his parents' arms after two leading government-run hospitals refused treatment while a third made them wait.
The baby was born in a private hospital in Budh Vihar area in North West Delhi on Sunday noon and doctors had told the parents he has respiratory problems and needs to be kept on ventilator for two days which would cost around Rs 20,000.
As the baby's father Dheeraj Kumar, a labourer, expressed inability to afford the expenses, he was told to shift the newborn to a government hospital.
Yesterday, the baby was first taken to the Kalavati Saran Children's hospital where doctors told the parents that there was no bed or ventilator available and he cannot be admittted.
The baby's relatives said the doctors at the emergency ward of the hospital run by the central government even refused to check the child.
The parents then took the baby to the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, another central-government run hospital. Though doctors checked the baby but they refused to admit him saying no bed is available and asked the parents to take the child somewhere else.
The baby was finally taken to LNJP Hospital (LNJP) where he was made to wait for around one hour and doctors later declared him brought dead. LNJP is a Delhi government-run hospital, they said.
"When we reached LNJP hospital, the doctors told us that they do not have portable oxygen cylinder and cannot offer treatment immediately. After making repeated request, the doctors tried to lift the baby from the ambulance to admit in emergency ward.
"As they took him off the oxygen supply which was installed in the CATS ambulance, the baby died. He died due to lax attitude of government hospitals," said a close relative of the baby.
The Union Health Ministry has sought a report from the two hospitals run by it which denied treatment to the newborn. "We have sought a report from RML and Kalawati Saran Children's hospital over the allegations of the deceased newborn's family that the death occured as hospitals denied treatment to their child," said a senior official from the Health Ministry.
The RML hospital has constituted a three-member committee comprising two doctors from Paediatric department and its Deputy Labour Welfare Commissioner to conduct a probe into the case.
"The Medical Superintendent Dr A K Gadpayle summoned the Head of Paediatric department and the senior resident doctor who was on duty at 12.10 PM yesterday when the incident happened. The in-charges of Casualty and Emergency have also been questioned by the Medical Superintendent," said a senior doctor at the hospital.
Authorities at Kalawati Saran Children Hospital, however, refused to comment on the issue.
Reacting to death of the newborn, Delhi Heath Minister Satyendar Jain sought to put the blame on the Centre, saying Kalawati and RML hospitals come under it. "The baby was taken to Kalawati and RML hospitals. Both the hospitals come under central government. He was then taken to LJNP where doctors immediately started the treatment but unfortunately baby could not be saved," he said.
Jain asserted that LNJP hospital did not refuse admission to the baby. "Admission is done after treatment. Doctors started treatment of the baby in the emergency ward. LNJP hospital does not refuse to admit patients," he said.
On the shifting of the baby from the private hospital, the father, Dheeraj Kumar, explained his inability to afford the costs, saying, "The private hospital charged us Rs 10,000 per day. But I earn only Rs 4,000.
"I cannot afford Rs 10,000. We had already paid Rs 30,000 to the hospital. Again at the time of discharge, they charged us Rs 5,000," Kumar said.