In a humble house in Houdbal, a small hamlet nestled in the snow-capped mountains consisting of 70 households, a 25-year-old woman was scathing in labour pain on Sunday morning.
Due to the snowbound road to the village, not even the local ambulance driver arrived to take her to the hospital, just 4 km away.
The delay in reaching the hospital ultimately resulted in the death of the newborn.
The couple, married for a year, was anticipating their first child, but there was something else in store for them.
With the death of the baby boy soon after his birth resulted in a pall of gloom in entire village while the family was left devastated.
“It was 8 am when my wife complained of pain. The ambulance driver, who resides a kilometer away, refused to reach our village. He even abused me for asking him to reach here,” said 27-year-old Muhammad ShafiTeroo, the woman’s husband.
The frantic calls from Teroo to everyone he could – the employees at sub-centre in the nearby AhmShareef to everyone else – went unheard as the ambulance didn’t arrive to pick his wife.
“My heart was aching as time kept passing. It was afternoon and my wife was crying in extreme pain,” says Tehroo, his eyes moist.
Tehroo’s mother Reshma said that his son felt like a helpless caged animal, neglected by all for being poor.
Tehroo was filled with hope when a local District Development Council (DDC) member offered to help and arrived with his vehicle.
“We lifted her on our shoulders to a separate road slightly uphill and put her in the vehicle. It was around 2 pm,” he said.
Tehroo and his family thought the worse times were over when they finally reached the hospital at 4 pm and the doctors operated upon his wife, who gave birth to a baby boy.
However, their joy was short-lived as the baby passed away within 15 minutes.
“The doctors at the hospital told me that if we would have arrived minutes earlier, the baby would have survived. Not only did the arrogance of the Health department kill my son but also endangered the life of my wife,” Tehroo said.
His bed-ridden wife is broken and not willing to speak.
“The ambulance driver is a part-timer and whenever the vehicle is required to ferry the patients to the hospital, no one arrives as the vehicle remains parked at his home,” said Muhammad Siddique, the village Panch.
Block Medical Officer Bandipora, MasaratIqbal said that the woman was ferried in the ambulance to the district hospital.
Executive Engineer R&B Abdul Hamid said R&B had cleared the main link road of AhamShareef village which connects it to Bandipora.