A 20-year-old woman with pregnancy-related complications died on Thursday after five hospitals of Imphal allegedly denied admission to her, prompting the Manipur government to order an investigation.
The woman's family members claimed that all the hospitals visited by them on late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning said she cannot be admitted as doctors were not available.
The woman, identified as Kanpatliu Kamei, was admitted to a government hospital in Senapati district at 2 pm on Wednesday, but the doctors there referred her to another medical establishment in Imphal at 10.30 pm after she developed complications.
She was brought to the state capital but two government-run hospitals and three private facilities refused to admit her and she died along with her unborn child early on Thursday, her elder brother Kanpatliu Kamei alleged.
He said that they were carrying a medical certificate declaring that she tested negative for COVID-19.
"An enquiry committee has been constituted to look into the causes leading to the death of the woman," Health Minister L Jayantakumar Singh said.
The probe panel has been asked to submit its report within a week. The district hospital at Sepanati referred the woman to the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in Imphal.
"When we reached there, we were told that there was no doctor to attend to her and we should go to RIMS (Regional Institute of Medical Sciences)," Kanpatliu Kamei said.
He said that after they went to RIMS, another state-run hospital, her sister was denied admission again. From there, they took her to three private facilities one after another, received the same reply, and she died in front of one such hospital.
The enquiry order issued by Health and Family Welfare department Joint Secretary R Rang Peter stated that the woman "died along with her unborn baby in the morning around 4 am."
Following the incident, the Manipur government has instructed all government and private hospitals "to ensure that all patients who reach their facility are attended promptly, especially emergency and time bound cases".
"Many health care facilities are denying service to patients due to Covid-19 pandemic. Each hospital shall designate responsible staff to ensure there is no denial of service," said an order issued by the departments Principal Secretary V Vummunlang.
Failure to comply with the order will be severely dealt with, it said.