The father of the premature baby could not pay for the incubator

A five-day-old baby girl died at the government-run Civil Hospital at Jalandhar as the staff stopped treatment when her father could not pay Rs. 200 charged for use of an incubator.

The incident came to light when Sanjeev Kumar, a daily wage painter, and his wife Anita accused the staff of “killing” the baby born prematurely in the hospital on July 20. The child required extra medical assistance as it developed complications, including jaundice, immediately after birth.

On Wednesday, the staff asked Sanjeev to deposit Rs. 200 for running the incubator. But he was not able to arrange for the money.

Apparently, the staff withdrew all treatment and handed over the baby to the mother, who pleaded for some more time. Within hours, the condition of the baby deteriorated and it died in the arms of its hapless mother. When the shocking incident came under media spotlight, local health authorities went into overdrive to shift blame. Witnesses said some hospital officials tried to argue that a written request was necessary from the child’s parents to allow use of the incubator. Sanjeev, who is not a literate, was not aware of such regulations.

Finally, the Chief Minister took “cognisance” of the situation and ordered a fast track inquiry into the incident.

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