A pregnant woman in Telangana was reportedly refused treatment by six doctors at at least two of the five hospitals she was taken to over suspicion that she may be coronavirus positive, the state government has said in a report to the Telangana High Court. After being turned away by so many hospitals, the young mother and her newborn both died in April.
Janeela, 20, had developed complications but she was moved from hospital to hospital over three days because her home was in an area designated a virus containment zone in Jogulamba Gadwal district, around 180 km from Hyderabad. She tested negative for COVID-19 before she gave birth.
Submitting a report before the Telangana High Court, Special Chief Secretary Shanti Kumari recommended disciplinary action against six doctors accused of denying the woman treatment.
"Doctors there (Mahababunagar district hospital) should have taken care of her. That could have saved her life. Doctors at the Sultan Bazaar hospital did not even examine her," the Special Chief Secretary said.
On April 23, Janeela was taken to the primary healthcare centre in Rajoli. Suspecting she was infected, doctors there directed her to the Gadwal district hospital. From there she was sent to the Mahabubnagar district hospital, then the Government Maternity Hospital in Sultan Bazaar and to the Gandhi Hospital, where she was finally tested for COVID-19. When she tested negative, she was sent to a sixth hospital - the Petlaburj Maternity Hospital, where she gave birth to a baby boy on April 25.
The next day, the baby was shifted to the Niloufer hospital, where he died. The mother was shifted to the Osmania Hospital. She died a day later.
In its report, the state government said treatment cannot be denied to people suspected to be Covid positive. The state would ensure uninterrupted care to new mothers and babies and provide ambulance service for pregnant women, the report said.
It also called for fresh protocol on how to handle cases of women in labour in Telangana, where all districts barring Hyderabad have been declared green zones, indicating low case count for coronavirus.
The state government was issued notices by the Human Rights Commission in this case.