Police, Hospital come to the rescue of the battered baby

Jan 01, 2013, 08:57 IST | Vivek Sabnis

Soon after MiD DAY reported that a 13-month-old girl had been admitted in a city hospital in a serious condition after allegedly being beaten by her paternal grandmother and biological father, the hospital has decided to treat the child free of cost. Also, the police have been asked to conduct an inquiry into the matter and the child's mother is being counselled to reveal the truth behind her daughter's injuries

MiD DAY’s exclusive report ‘Grandmother assaults 13-month-old for being a girl’ set the wheels in motion and the police will be initiating an inquiry into the matter. The child was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital attached to D Y Patil Medical College and Research Centre in PCMC area on December 20. Doctors suspected foul play after examining the child, but were told by the parents that the injuries were due to a fall. The doctors continue to maintain that the child’s injuries could not have been sue to a fall, but from being battered and pinched.

Fragile life: The hospital where the child was admitted. She was brought here  on December 20 with multiple fractures and extensive bruises all over her body

Taking cognisance of the matter, Additional Commissioner of Police (North) Sureshkumar Mekhala initiated an inquiry. He said that the child’s mother is being counselled to open up and register an offence against her husband and mother-in-law. 

“If the mother is reluctant to lodge a complaint, then the police will file a suo moto case against the child’s paternal grandmother and her biological father under relevant Sections of the IPC,” Mekhala said.

Currently, the child’s father has been detained by the police for questioning.

According to doctors at the hospital, the child will take around six to seven week to recover as babies heal quickly.

“The baby had sustained multiple fractures, including broken bones in thighs and lower limbs, and fracture in wrist of right hand. We have also observed blood clotting on her face, which is the result of being pinched with great force,” said Dr Sharad Agarkhedkar, HOD paediatric department, DY Patil Hospital and Research Centre.

Further describing he injuries, Dr Amarjit Singh, dean of the hospital said, “As per the X-rays, it seems that there are a few older fractures and a few newer ones. We therefore suspect that the girl was being subjected to severe beatings for the past few weeks.” The child’s mother on the other hand said in her statement to the police that her daughter had fallen down from the bed. Reacting to this information, Agarkhedkar said, “The child could not have sustained such grievous fractures by falling from the height of a bed.”

The hospital administration emphasised that they have mentioned ‘child abuse case’ in the Medico Legal Case (MLC).

Dr Vinita Pande said, “We have raised a query of battered baby syndrome in the MLC. Battered baby syndrome is a medical term for child abuse.

Considering all the conditions, our CMO reported the instance to the police at the time the child was admitted.”

“We will not be charging for the child’s treatment. Even psychological counselling will be provided free of cost to her family,” Agarkhedkar said.  

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