NEWBORN'S DEATH|Family cries foul as authorities 'delay' action on inquiry report

While the committee constituted to probe the circumstances that led to death of a newborn on roadside here last January has submitted its report, the health authorities continue to delay action on it even after passing of 10 days.

The newborn had died soon after an expecting woman from remote village of Moori in Kalaroos Kupwara, who was allegedly denied admission at Lal Ded hospital here on January 17, had delivered on roadside in Bemina. 

An official said the inquiry report was delayed due to “logistic factors”. “The inquiry was to be concluded in two days but it took two months. Now for the past 10 days, the report is lying in medical college,” he said.

The official said although initially, the authorities had acted promptly to quell public anger that has resulted from the shocking incident, he said for unknown reason the authorities were “delaying action” on the final report.

Principal Government Medical College Srinagar, Prof Samia Rashid confirmed that the report has been submitted by the committee 10 days ago. “A copy of the report will be forwarded to authorities concerned (for action),” she said. She however didn’t divulge the findings stating the report was “sealed and confidential”.

The victim’s family has alleged that health department was “deliberately delaying” action into the incident. “Justice is being denied to us by delaying action on the report,” said Molvi Khanzaman, brother of Surayya Begum, whose child had died on the roadside.

He alleged that the report findings were being kept “under wraps as it will expose gross deficiencies” in healthcare system in Kashmir.

On 21 January, the GMC, following directions from state government, had constituted a 4-member “broad based inquiry committee” headed by principal medical college Anantnag, Prof Showkat A Jeelani to probe the incident.

The woman’s family had alleged negligence by the doctors. The preliminary inquiry report had indicted a doctor on duty, a postgraduate student, of negligence and failure to follow standard operating procedure (SOP).

In response to the hue and cry, following the incident, health and medical education department framed an SOP for patient referrals from peripheries. A series of meetings were also held by the department with various officials and agencies to strengthen delivery of healthcare in peripheries.