Compensation for maternity deaths caused by poor service in State hospitals

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday indicated that it will issue directions for payment of compensation in cases of maternity deaths in primary health centres (PHCs) and government hospitals due to lack proper medical services like non-availability of doctors.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Pradeep Singh Yerur made oral observation in this regard during the hearing of a PIL petition filed by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority seeking directions to the government to take steps for effective implement of health schemes to check maternal mortality, to fill up vacancies in posts of gynaecologists and paediatrics, paramedical staff, etc.

Pointing out that the Supreme Court has already held that the right to health and women’s reproductive rights fall under the ambit fundamental right to livelihood under the Article 21 of the Constitution, the Bench said that the government will have to take responsibility for the death of pregnant women due to lack of proper medical facilities in PHCs and government-run hospitals.

Meanwhile, government counsel pointed out that the State’s Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) has declined from 108 per lakh live births in 2014-16 to 97 per lakh live births in 2016-17 as per the latest Sample Registration System (SRS) 2015-17 bulletin for Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) released by the Registrar General of India.

However, the Bench noted that the State is still at the 11th position in the country and the government has not come up with a concrete proposal to fill up many vacancies in the posts of gynaecologists and paediatricians. The Bench also noted that though the government proposed to frame new rules, instead of going through present system of the lengthy process of recruitment of doctors through the Karnataka Public Service Commission, nothing had been done so far as the government has not come out with timeframe to fill up vacant posts.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 12:42:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/maternal-deaths-due-to-lack-of-facilities-in-state-institutions-to-be-compensated/article30019023.ece

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