Rajat Sharma

Yogi must find permanent solution to fix the ailing health care system

akb1India TV on Thursday night telecast on its ‘Aaj Ki Baat‘ show the news about how a four-day-old infant, born prematurely, died on the stairs of a government hospital in Bareilly, UP, hours after she was shunted between two wings of the same hospital, because doctors at neither of the wings were ready to admit her.

For more than three hours, the family of the infant ran between the men’s and women’s wings of the same hospital, and the infant died in transit. Yogendra Pal, a farmer had brought the infant to the hospital for immediate treatment after she became ill and had breathing trouble.

The parents first went to the OPD of the men’s wing. The paediatrician Dr S S Chauhan examined her and referred the infant to the women’s wing, some 500 metres away, which has a Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU). The doctor at SNCU refused to admit the infant and wrote on the hospital slip “Bed is not available, kindly admit in your side (sic)”.

When the father returned to the OPD of men’s wing, Dr Chauhan again directed him to go to the women’s wing.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered the immediate suspension of the Chief Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr K S Gupta and ordered departmental proceedings against the CMS of the women’s wing Dr Alka Sharma for negligence in duty.

The suspended CMS Dr Gupta said, Dr Chauhan should have admitted the infant in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where two out of four infant radiant warmer cots were available. Dr Alka Sharma however said there were six infants in the NICU, where only four infant radiant warmer cots were already occupied.

India TV showed the video of the doctors quarreling among themselves even as the parents were holding the body of the dead infant.

The basic issue is not about an ailing infant’s death, it signifies the ‘death’ of our sick health care system. The saddest part is that though we have hospitals, doctors, medicines and equipment, the basic need called sensitivity is sorely missing. When sensitivity is dead, there seems to be no difference between a living human being and a dead body. It was not the body of an infant that came out of the hospital in Bareilly, it was the lifeless body of our ailing health care system that came out of this sordid episode.

I appreciate the immediate action taken by the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in suspending the CMS and ordering departmental proceedings against the other, but this is not a permanent solution. The Chief Minister must now take serious steps to arrest the malady that prevails in our health care system. Otherwise we will continue to watch such sordid happenings, and our children will continue to die, whether in Bareilly or in Muzaffarpur (Bihar).

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