A 25-year-old COVID-19 positive woman in Tripura has delivered her baby in an ambulance during a 130-km arduous journey from Unakoti district hospital in Kailasahar to GB Pant hospital, the states main corona care hospital in Agartala where she was referred, officials said on Thursday.
The pregnant woman was taken to three hospitals in about 36 hours since Tuesday but all of them refused to treat her.
The incident has led to the state health director to initiate an inquiry against the Kailasahar hospital and order the submission of a report on its refusal to provide medical care to the woman within two days, official sources said.
Her baby was born in the dead of the night in an ambulance when it was crossing the hilly terrains of Atharomura hill range, about 50 km from on Wednesday, her family members said.
Laxmi Rani Chowdhury and her baby boy are safe and under observation at GB Pant Hospital, sources in it said.
The woman was first admitted to Unakoti district hospital at Kailasahar district on Tuesday for her delivery but was referred to the corona care hospital as she had tested positive for COVID-19 following a rapid antigen test.
She developed labour pains on the way to Agartala at about 4.30 pm on Tuesday when the ambulance carrying her was near Kumarghat district hospital, about 110 km away. She was taken to the hospital and made to wait for about two hours.
But as she did not go into labour, the doctors there too referred her to the GB Pant hospital. The woman delivered her baby late on Wednesday night in the ambulance when it was crossing Atharomura hill range in Khowai district, 50 km from here.
The woman's family members who were accompanying her rushed her to the nearby Teliamura sub-divisional hospital.
But she had a retained the placenta and was sent to the Agartala hospital, where she was finally admitted along with her baby late on Wednesday.
Both the mother and the child are safe. As the mother had tested coronavirus positive and the baby was exposed to her for quite some time and also needs breastfeeding, they were not separated," Bidhan Goswami, the resident medical officer of GB Pant hospital said.
"We have kept them together in the COVID-19 ward," he said.
Tripura health director Subhashish Debbarma said an inquiry was initiated against the authorities of the Kailasahar district hospital for not providing treatment to the woman and asked it to submit a report within two days.
There is a complaint that the gynecologist on duty did not admit the patient after she tested COVID-19 positive.
We must take punitive measures against the erring doctors if the complaint is found to be true, he said.
Kailahahar district hospital medical superintendent Samarendra Debbarma said that he had taken the advice of his seniors before referring the woman to GB Pant Hospital in Agartala.
We had discussed with our seniors before referring the woman to the Agartala hospital. Moreover, we have only one labour room and one operation theatre (in Kailasahar hospital).
"We have a COVID-19 ward but as per instruction we refer any serious coronavirus patient to Agartala," he added.