SHRC directs State to give ₹5 lakh compensation for woman’s death during delivery at PHC

The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has directed the Tamil Nadu Government to give a compensation of ₹5 lakh to a man whose wife and her male infant died during delivery conducted at an upgraded Primary Health Centre (PHC).

When Suresh of Nambithoppu near Thirukkurunkudi in the district took his pregnant wife Akhila, 26, to the upgraded PHC at Thirukkurungudi after she developed labour pain at around 3.45 p.m. on June 8, 2019, they found there was no doctor. Hence nurse Bindhu Metilda and ANM Udhayasooriyan examined the woman. As Akhila suffered ecessive bleeding she breathed her last around 8.15 p.m.

Block Medical Officer Kalaiarasi and Assistant Surgeon Jenifer, who examined Akhila, declared her and the baby dead. The bodies were sent for a post-mortem even as the relatives alleged medical negligence and protested demanding action against the doctors, nurse and others in the PHC for “miserably failing to save the young mother and the baby”. They also submitted petition to the Collector seeking action against the “erring personnel of the PHC” and due compensation.

After the incident was reported in the media, the SHRC called for a detailed report from Health Secretary and the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Chennai, who directed the Deputy Director of Health Services, Tirunelveli, to conduct an inquiry and submit a report.

Subsequently, the District Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care Committee, comprising six medical officers conducted an inquiry and submitted a report while the Special Maternal Death Audit Committee also submitted a separate inquiry report. Based on these reports, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine submitted a report to the SHRC.

In the report, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine admitted that there was a failure to recognize the “obstructed labour” on time by Mr. Udhayasooriyan, ANM, PHC, Thirukkurunkudi, who conducted the delivery along with Ms. Bindhu Metilda, nurse.

Moreover, neither Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine nor the Deputy Director of Health Services, Tirunelveli, had pinpointed in their reports the person responsible for the death of Akhila and the newborn baby. And, the reason for the death of the mother and the son was also not cited in the report.

Dr. Kalaiarasi maintained that she had gone for a meeting convened by the Deputy Director of Health Services, Tirunelveli, on that day and she received information about Akhila only after she gave birth to the baby and succumbed to bleeding.

SHRC member D. Jayachandran said Assistant Surgeon Jenifer who should have been available on call between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., had failed to attend Akhila while the staff nurse, the ANM and the village health nurse cannot be held responsible for the death. The doctors arrived at the PHC only around 8.15 p.m. and found the mother and the baby were dead.

“It proves the medical negligence of Block Medical Officer Kalaiarasi and Assistant Surgeon Jenifer. Hence, the Tamil Nadu Government, on behalf of Dr. Kalaiarasi and Dr. Jenifer should give a compensation of ₹ 5 lakh to Suresh, husband of Akhila and take disciplinary action against the erring doctors for medical negligence. Besides providing proper training to everyone in the primary health centres in handling pregnant women and conducting deliveries, the Department of Public Health should ensure quality medical care in the PHCs,” Mr. Jayachandran said.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 7:04:11 PM |

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