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Unable to Reach Hospital Due to Lockdown, Kashmiri Woman Dies Hours after Delivering Stillborn

Image for representation (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Image for representation (Photo Credit: Reuters)

The woman's relatives had to carry her all the way from the hilly terrain of Daulatabad to Manzmoh on a locally made stretcher and had to wait for five hours for a vehicle.

Anantnag: The demise of a 26-year-old expectant mother from Peer Panchal area of South Kashmir has put a question mark on the efficacy of helplines set up by the government to assist people during the lockdown.

Masrat Jan, a resident of South Kashmir died in a hospital after giving birth to a stillborn at her home. Her relatives said that she died because they could not manage to reach the hospital on time due to the lockdown. They had to carry the ailing woman all the way from the hilly terrain of Daulatabad to Manzmoh on a locally made stretcher and had to wait for around five hours for a vehicle that would take them to Quazigund Trauma Hospital.

The delay, her relatives say, cost Masrat her life.

Masrat’s husband Reyaz Ahmed Mughloo said his wife went into labour at their residence. The couple had decided that Masrat would deliver her child at their home as they were worried about the restrictions in place due to the lockdown. But things took a turn for the worse when she gave birth to a stillborn and her condition deteriorated.

Sensing trouble, the family decided to shift her to a hospital and carried her on the stretcher for three kilometres. As they waited for hours, they dialled several distress and helpline numbers but received no response.

After they managed to reach the Quazigund Trauma Hospital, the doctors on duty shifted Masrat to the Maternity Childcare Hospital of Anantnag, where she breathed her last.

Abdul Rashid, a relative, alleged that Masrat died due to the medical negligence at Government Medical College Anantnag, where she was admitted with chest pain and other complications on May 7. But the doctors discharged her without proper treatment which may have resulted in the death of the mother and the child. Rashid said despite the complications, Masrat was not shifted to Maternity Childcare Hospital or any other tertiary care hospital and was allowed to go home.

Dr Showkat Geelani, the principal of Government Medical College Anantnag said that when the woman was brought to the hospital, her condition had already deteriorated significantly and the doctors on duty tried to save her but it was already too late. n the other hand. Dr Geelani termed the woman's death unfortunate and said that she decided to deliver her baby at her home, a decision which goes against the guidelines of the health ministry.

Dr Qurat who was on duty at that time said that the condition of the patient had gotten worse due to the delay and their attempts to resuscitate her had failed. Dr Qurat added that the cause of death cannot be ascertained but preliminary observations suggest the death may be due to pulmonary oedema.

The body of the deceased was handed to the relatives after samples for coronavirus were collected. Masrat was later buried in her ancestral village.

Meanwhile, a local from Daulatabad Asif Ahmad said that Masrat didn't die due to the negligence of doctors but she due to the apathy of the ruling class towards Daulatabad area.

They allege that politicians, including former MLA's of PDP and Congress, have visited this area several times and promised road connectivity ahead of elections only to garner votes.  Another relative of Masrat, Bashir Ahmed Laiwal, said that once the elections were over, nobody returned to the area, resulting in the locals being deprived of basic amenities like healthcare and road infrastructure.

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