The 38-year-old woman, with her 5 month baby girl
The 38-year-old woman, with her 5 month baby girl|EastMojo image
ASSAM

Brother writes to Assam health minister seeking justice for dead sister

Mother of a 5 month girl died allegedly after private hospitals refused treatment questioning Rapid Antigen test reports

Rishu Kalantri

Rishu Kalantri

Tinsukia: The brother of 38-year-old woman, mother of a 5-month baby girl, has formally petitioned the health minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma seeking action against hospitals and doctors who showed no sign of humanity to treat his sister.

The petition ended with two pertinent questions – “who will take responsibility of my sister’s death and take care of her 5-month old baby? How long people will keep dying from other ailments in the name of saving the community from coronavirus?”

Ruhit Neog has also submitted a copy of the letter to the deputy commissioner of Tinsukia and Dibrugarh, additional deputy commissioner of Tinsukia (health), joint director of health services (Tinsukia) seeking justice.

The development came three days after Rajashree Borthakur, a resident of Margherita in Assam's Tinsukia district, died in Dibrugarh on August 20. Allegedly this happened after various private hospitals in Dibrugarh town refused to treat her with a negative Rapid Antigen Test report. Instead, they insisted on RTPCR test report while she was in a critical condition.

copy of petition submitted to deputy commissioner of Tinsukia seeking justice
copy of petition submitted to deputy commissioner of Tinsukia seeking justice

In the petition sent to Sarma, a copy of the same has been assessed by this correspondent, Neog said, “My sister had a sudden stroke on at about 11 pm on August 19 at about 11 pm after which she was immediately taken to Margherita civil hospital and later to a local private nursing home from where she was referred to a private hospital in Tinsukia in an ambulance in a very critical condition.”

“I am writing with a heavy heart that after reaching Tinsukia almost two hours later at about 1.10 AM , we ran from the doors of one private hospital to the other including, R.C. Agarwal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre, Swastik Nursing Home, Lifeline hospital and Borthakur Nursing Home, but none of the hospitals opened their gate. The security guard responded that no doctor is available; hence, the patient cannot be attended,” the petition said.

Neog wrote that they immediately rushed to Dibrugarh for her treatment, but their plea fell on deaf ears. "Hence, we moved her to Assam Medical College & Hospital (AMCH) where doctors performed her C.T. Scan, X-ray, sonography and later shifted her to ENT general ward with an oxygen cylinder and a saline as no Intensive Care Unit (ICU) was available. Although, she was critical, and required ICU."

She tested negative for COVID-19 in Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) done by AMCH authorities at 7.00 am, the petition said, enclosing a copy of the test report.

Narrating his ordeal, Neog said, "As there was no way out and ICU treatment was very necessary as suggested by one of the junior doctor at AMCH, we took her to Brahmaputra Diagnostics & Hospital Limited on oxygen support in an ambulance."

The doctors refused to admit her with the negative RAT report, done few hours’ earlier, and demanded RT-PCR report for COVID-19 which comes after 2-3 days. Neog added, "I requested and begged them to admit her as her condition was gradually becoming more critical. My sister was left to die in the Ambulance for more than half an hour outside the hospital under the scorching heat."

Rapid Antigen Test report by AMCH
Rapid Antigen Test report by AMCHEastMojo image

In the letter, Neog said, “we took her to the Aditya Diagnostics & Hosptial, but the hospital authorities informed us that the concerned doctor is unavailable, may take more than one hour. Hence, we moved her to the Sanjivani hospital.” The petition added, “At Sanjivani, we requested the concerned doctor in causality to admit her. Initially, they denied, and refused to accept the RAT report for COVID-19, later agreed on the condition that the hospital will do a repeat test for COVID-19, and the treatment will be done once the result is out,” the petition read.

Neog said, “They asked us to pay rupees 6000 for the test and said that the result will be told verbally and no report will be issued. Having no choice left, we took admission after paying an advance of rupees Rs 4000 apart from rupees 6000 towards COVID-19 test.”

“A doctor, titled Choubey, refused to shift my sister to ICU. Later, he argued and misbehaved with my brother and refused to touch and treat my sister. Soon she was shifted to the general ward on the third floor. She was on oxygen and saline, and no doctor came out to see her, leaving her to die,” Neog said, adding, I cannot express that “painful” situation in words to you.

Neog said, the hospital reception called to return rupees 6000. “When asked, they replied that COVID-19 test won’t be done according to their “sir” instruction. At about 1.10 pm, we observed that her pulse was missing. We called upon the doctor, but to our dismay, two nurses wearing PPE kit came and told us to get an ECG done. When enquired about the doctors and reason to perform ECG when there is no pulse and breath in the body, they replied that they are following the order of the doctor, who only came to declare that the patient is no more.”

He added, even attempts to get her treatment at Shankardev hospital failed as the hospital authorities denied to admit her with RAT report and insisted RT-PCR report. "We lost our only sister, who has left behind a 5-month-old baby, without any treatment," lamented Neog.

The petition ends seeking clarification from health minister that why RAT was not accepted by any private hospitals of Dibrugarh. Is there any government guideline where hospitals and nursing homes are asked not to admit or treat patients without RT-PCR test report?

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