Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hospitals make raped minor wait nine hours

Refused to admit her till police case was filed, cops take four hours to register complaint

Yogesh Sadhwani

Posted On Friday, October 08, 2010 at 02:02:31 AM

The aversion hospitals have for 'police cases' on Tuesday caused unimaginable pain and trauma for a four-year-old victim of rape. The minor from Bhiwandi, who was bleeding profusely and weeping inconsolably, had to wait nine hours to get medical attention. Hospital after hospital, including one run by the municipal corporation, in Bhiwandi turned her parents down.

The Supreme Court has time and again ruled that in medical emergencies, legal formalities can be carried out after a patient is treated.

The four-year-old came home crying at 2.30 pm on Tuesday. Rekhadevi Sah, her mother, noticed that her clothes were stained with blood. She then took a closer look and realised that the child's private parts were bleeding profusely. Rekhadevi rushed her daughter to Amina, a nearby private hospital.

“They refused to admit her. They told me it was a police case.” Rekhadevi then took her to two other private institutions – Dr Megha's polyclinic and Dr Irfan's polyclinic – with the same result. By then, her husband Pappu Sah had joined her. They headed to the municipality-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.

“I had heard that civic hospitals don't insist on a police complaint before treating a patient. But the doctor on duty did not even examine my daughter and, instead, insisted I return after reporting it to the police. My daughter was bleeding and in pain. I begged and pleaded with the doctor,” said Pappu, who runs a small business.

As they were running out of options, they went to Bhoiwada police station. Here too, they were kept waiting for about four hours. “I requested the officers to give me a memo directing the hospital to admit her but they took their own sweet time,” Pappu said.

It was only at 11.45 pm, nine hours later, that a rape case was registered and the family taken to the IGM hospital by the police. The minor was finally admitted and administered pain killers.

But even that was not the end of her nightmare. The next morning, she was transferred to Thane Civil Hospital for treatment even though her wounds had not been sutured. Even at Thane, she was made to wait for two hours and directed once more to Sion Hospital. Late on Wednesday night, the child's wounds were finally sutured at Sion.

The girl's parents are in shock after the incident. “Doctors here told us that she could have died due to excessive bleeding,” Pappu said. Dr Rajesh Dere, forensic expert at Sion, said shuttling between hospitals and delay at the police station could have affected the biological evidence. “The evidence should be collected immediately. Then it can be used effectively to corroborate the offence,” he said.

Pappu is agitated and plans to pursue the matter with the authorities. Dr Dere said, “If a doctor refuses to examine a patient for the lack of a police report, he can be booked under section 201 and 202 of the Indian Penal Code.”

The private hospitals could not be contacted. Chief Medical Officer, IGM Hospital, Dr K R Kharat said, “We will initiate the action against the doctor who refused treatment.” Meanwhile, Senior Inspector, Bhoiwada Police, R C Patil, defended the officers on duty. “We didn't take too long to file an FIR and send her to the hospital,” he said. He could not, however, explain why the girl was not simply given a memo and rushed to hospital.

1 comment:

Carol Plummer said...

This is outrageous and should result in knowledgable people agitating for change. Best wishes as you work collectively for those who are least powerful!