Govt Gynecologist absent during childbirth; told to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation out of pocket
Tamil Nadu: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has recommended disciplinary action against an assistant surgeon attached to the Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Erode district after a pregnant patient and the newborn died during delivery process conducted by a nurse, in the absence of a qualified gynaecologist. The commission further recommended a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the deceased patient's spouse, wherein, Rs 5 lakh has to be paid by the gynaecologist.
This came following a complaint moved by the patient's spouse in September 2018, who submitted that the patient had registered her pregnancy under the National Health Mission (NHM) scheme at the Primary Health Centre in Vijayamangalam. The patient was under cyclic check-ups during 2018. On November 11 2018, the patient experienced labour pain. She was taken to the PHC and was reportedly informed by the doctor that she was ready for delivery.
However, when the patient visited the health centre for a second time, the same day, she was informed that the medical practitioner had gone to Chennai. Thus, the nurse would have to conduct the delivery.
An inquiry in the matter revealed that the nurse had spoken to the doctor over the phone, explaining her the complexities of pregnancy. However, the doctor did not arrive at the centre to attend the patient.
Thereafter, the childbirth procedure was administered by the nurse. However, it did not turn out well, and the patient was rushed to another PHC at Thingalur, which denied to treat the patient. Eventually, the patient was taken to the government hospital in Erode, where the doctors declared the patient and the infant dead.
In December 2018, taking suo motu cognisance of a media report, the commission had called for a report.
The Commission finally pronounced its recommendations in the matter. D. Jayachandran, Chairperson, SHRC, recommended disciplinary action against the doctor along with a fine of Rs 5 lakh. Further, the commission also recommended disciplinary action against all four members of the Special Maternal Death Audit Committee.
Furthermore, the Government of Tamil Nadu has also been directed to strictly monitor the presence of doctors to provide delivery care on a 24x7 basis in all PHCs across the State. The commission gave further directions to the authority to display a duty chart in Tamil, with mobile numbers in all PHCs. They have also been asked to conduct surprise visits and make random calls to the PHCs, suggests a recent report in The Hindu.