NHRC seeks report on baby's death in 4 weeks

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sent a notice to the Union Health Ministry and the Delhi government over the death of a newborn who was allgedly denied treatment at government hospitals last week.

It has sought a report within four weeks from both the departments.This came following media reports that the premature infant who needed special care was turned away from hospitals. The infant was suffering from respiratory distress and needed ventilator support. The infant’s family was unable to bear the cost of treatment at the private nursing home and had to take the child from one hospital to another in a CATS ambulance. However, the infant did not receive treatment at any of these hospitals.

The commission wrote to the departments citing that the right to health is a basic human right and the state is responsible in providing it. “Any denial of this right and that too in a case of a newborn in a serious condition is abominable,” said the commission.

A notice in this case was issued to the Secretary, Union Health Ministry and Secretary, Delhi Health Department.

The infant was first turned away from the Centre-run Kalawati Saran Children Hospital due to non-availability of bed and ventilator, according to family members. The infant was then taken to Centre-run RML Hospital where the situation was no different.

When the family took the baby to the state-run Lok Nayak Hospital, doctors declared him dead on arrival. There was time lost at LNJP too, said family members. The commission has sought a reply as the baby died reportedly due to delay in receiving treatment.

“The family had travelled more than three-and-a-half hours covering 58 km. The delay in treatment resulted in the death of the child in the ambulance itself,” the NHRC said.

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