Five-day old baby dies, as striking doctors refuse to treat him

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Wardha, Maharashtra:  Asha Wankhede waited for doctors silently praying for her five-day old baby. But tragically her prayers went in vain. Three hours later her baby's heart stopped beating. And the most tragic tale of all, her son could perhaps have been saved, had these striking government doctors in Wardha not refused to treat him.

Jagdish Wankhede, the heartbroken baby's father, relates his tale of woe. ''They told us to go to a private hospital because the doctors were on strike and that he wouldn't get treated here...We got the money from the bank and took him to hospital. But the doctor said he was dead.''

The doctors who are on strike demanding higher salaries, fixed duty hours, and promotions every four years, say they are not to blame. The hospital administration, they say, is responsible for the baby's death. Dr Aaryan Ginavat, one of the striking doctors says, "The baby was declared dead on arrival... we are not responsible...The government is responsible.''

But Asha's tragedy is little different from Tabassum Sheikh's harrowing experience. This 22-year-old woman was forced to deliver a baby on a street in Mumbai in the dead of the night after a hospital denied her admission. Owing to lack of any medical care, the baby could not survive for more than a few hours.

The cities may be different but the tragic realities remain the same. And with no one coming forward to take responsibility, there are fears that these tragedies could be repeated.



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