Rs. 3 lakh compensation for death of pregnant woman

The Odisha Human Rights Commission has directed the State government to pay a compensation of Rs. 3 lakh to a man whose pregnant wife died because of the negligence of the doctors at the district headquarters hospital, Subarnapur.

The victim, Reetanjali Sahu from Takarla village in Subarnapur, was left to be handled by a nurse despite a doctor diagnosing earlier in the day that her baby’s heartbeat had stopped in the womb.

Taking a strong exception to the “nonchalant approach” of the doctors, leading to the death of the young mother, OHRC acting chairperson Justice B.K. Mishra directed the authorities to realise the compensation from the salary of two negligent doctors.

Left unattended

Reetanjali was admitted to the hospital on May 22, 2016, and examined by Dr. Utkal Naik, a gynaecologist, the same evening. The doctor asked the attendants to wait and left for home.

Around 11.44 p.m., Reetanjali gave birth to a stillborn baby. No doctor turned up to attend to her and only one staff nurse was present in the ward at that time.

Reetanjali’s family members alleged that immediately after the delivery the staff nurse shifted her to the general ward although she was bleeding profusely. According to the complainant, Reetanjali’s mother, the doctor on emergency duty, Nanda Kishore Naik, did not pay any heed to the relatives’ plea to attend to the patient. The doctor claimed that said such type of bleeding was normal post-delivery.

When the bleeding did not stop, Dr. Utkal Naik was called. He examined the patient at 2.45 a.m. on May 23 and declared her dead. Not a single doctor came to attend the critically ill patient for three hours. According to the inquiry conducted by the Chief District Medical Officer of Subarnapur, the patient died due to “severe pre-eclampsia with disseminated intravascular coagulation which occurs when a dead foetus remains inside the womb for some time”.

After studying all reports, Justice Mishra came to the conclusion that Reetanjali had died as she could not get timely treatment.

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