Hospital accused of letting four-day-old to die over Rs. 200

We read the following story in the Hindustan Times on July 26, 2012. 
She died, all of four days old, for want of Rs. 200 to keep her in a photo-therapy unit: another tiny teardrop on the face of a nation too often inured to callousness and suffering.

As details emerged about the death of the baby in Jalandhar’s civil hospital, the loss of a life unlived sparked waves of nausea and anger.

Perhaps it was wrath at  a crime against the most helpless of the helpless, perhaps empathy in the face of stone-heartedness, perhaps middle-class guilt at the wretchedness of being unable to afford such a paltry sum.

The facts are still emerging but father Sanjeev Kumar, is clear: staff at the hospital insisted on the money — enough to buy three kilos of dal  — to keep his daughter in the potentially life-saving device after she contracted jaundice.

Photo-therapy involves keeping babies in colored light to cure them of the disease, a relatively common condition among newborns.

When Kumar, who paints houses for a living, couldn’t pay up quickly, he says, they removed the baby from the photo-therapy, and she died.

The mother, Anita Kumari, 30, delivered her daughter on July 22. “On Wednesday, July 25, I fed her at about 7am. After this one of the nursing staff injected the baby at 8am. At that time, one of the nurses asked me to submit a fee of Rs. 200 for the photo-therapy unit. I kept on pleading with them to keep the child in the unit as my husband was arranging the money,” she said.

“But the staff preferred to keep the baby outside,” she said. “At about 4pm, I saw no movement from my baby and reported it to the doctors. The nurses started pressing the baby’s chest and immediately put her back in the photo-therapy unit.”

Things went rapidly downhill and in the evening, the nurses told her the baby had died.

That’s not all. “We were forcibly thrown out of the hospital by the staff, who called the guards when we objected to the negligence in treatment,” said Kumar.

An FIR hasn’t been lodged as the police said they were yet to get a formal complaint.

“The incident is not acceptable at all. No government hospital has the right to deny treatment on the ground that the patient’s family does not have money.

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