Fear led to the death of a woman and her babies. She gave birth to twins on June 9, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and died on June 11 after four hospitals allegedly refused to admit her, suspecting that she was a coronavirus patient.
The incident occurred in Dehradun city.
Sudha Saini, 24, had developed complications after the delivery. She was finally admitted to a fifth hospital after a local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) intervened but she died on Thursday, Indian news outlets reported.
It was reported that Sudha’s husband Kamlesh Saini took her to two government hospitals and two private private hospitals but all of them refused to admit her after noticing that she had high fever and suspecting that she might have COVID-19.
According to her husband, the couple had to face similar treatment two days prior to her death during her delivery at a state-run hospital. Kamlesh had taken Sudha to the facility after she developed stomach pain in her seventh month.
“While the doctors said she was anaemic and must be administered blood, the hospital refused to admit her. They did not even examine my wife properly,” Kamlesh was quoted as saying, adding that he was asked to bring her after the completion of nine months of her pregnancy.
Sudha later gave birth to twins who died a few hours after and her health got worse. She was then taken to four different hospitals but got rejected.
According to media reports, three inquiries have been ordered by Uttarakhand Health Secretary, Chief Medical Officer and the District Magistrate into the case.
The tragic incident was discussed online as tweeps highlighted the “stigma” that coronavirus carries. While many criticised the state of the country’s healthcare system amidst the pandemic.
User @tweet2harshit tweeted at the Indian Ministry of Health and wrote: “Perhaps the stigma associated with COVID-19 is real and here to stay. It is the fear of pandemic that is swaying away lives that could have been easily saved. A 24-year-old woman dies not with COVID but due to the stigma associated around it. #Dehradun #COVID19India @MoHFW_INDIA”
Whereas, @shamolyk advocated for patients who are suffering from illnesses other than COVID-19 during the outbreak and failing to get necessary attention: “This is outrageous. 24-year woman pregnant with twins was turned back from 4 hospitals in Dehradun. She and the twins died. How does anyone have authority to turn back serious cases? Shouldn’t we reserve few per cent for critical patients?”
The Indian government has been strongly criticised for its response to coronavirus and the impact it has had on the healthcare system. Currently, reports of hospital beds running out in Delhi have emerged.