Hospitals' apathy costs baby's life

Hospitals' apathy costs baby's life

It took the family of a 19-month-old baby girl more than three hours to get her treated after she accidentally fell from their second floor residence on J C Road here on Monday.

Gagana, daughter of a garment factory worker, who was shuttled from one hospital to another for want of a ventilator, succumbed to her injuries later in the night at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans).

Gagana fell at 10:15 am but received treatment only around 1:40 pm. Her neighbour rushed out of the house on hearing a noise and saw Gagana lying unconscious.

Gagana slipped from in-between the grills of the parapet wall on the second floor of her residence. The incident occurred when her mother had come downstairs to fetch water. “We initially rushed her to a small clinic nearby and were told that she needed a specialist. We took her to St Martha’s Hospital where the nurses were kind enough to give first aid. But they directed us to Nimhans,” said Muruga, Gagana’s neighbour.

The family claimed to have waited for 45 minutes for the 108 ambulance to arrive at St Martha’s Hospital to shift her to Nimhans. “When we went to Nimhans and explained the condition, the doctors did not even come out to see the child. They insisted on seeing the records. After that, we were asked to go elsewhere as there were no ventilators,” he added.

Gagana was then moved to Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health where, her parents claimed, they were turned down by doctors and only when the news channels reached the spot did they admit her.

“We were asked to take her back from here as well. We refused to budge.They kept us waiting. Only after the media intervened did they admit her,” said the victim’s father Venkatesh. Gagana was later shifted to Nimhans.

This is not a first of its kind case, many families have been denied treatment at government hospitals due to shortage of ventilators.

When contacted, Minister for Medical Education Dr Sharan Prakash Patil said the government was willing to have additional ventilators in these hospitals but there is a severe space constraint.

“This is one of the reasons why we are setting up the trauma centre at Victoria Hospital. This centre is likely to have over 40 ventilators,” said the minister.

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