4 of Tumakuru district hospital suspended over deaths of woman and her new-born twins

Woman and twins died at home after the hospital allegedly sent her back as she didn't have Aadhar card or 'Taayi card'.

ByChetana Belagere

Published Nov 04, 2022 | 9:45 AMUpdatedNov 04, 2022 | 2:56 PM

Residents and local leaders at Tumakuru

In a shocking incident that has forced the state government to take immediate action, a pregnant woman and her newborn twins died in front of her six-year-old daughter at their residence in Tumakuru district of Karnataka.

The traumatised girl was apparently a witness to her mother’s death during delivery at home after the Tumkuru District hospital denied her admission, despite her begging and pleading that her pains were severe and that she might deliver any moment.

Spurred into action by the shock and outrage the incident sparked, the state Health Department on Thursday, 3 November, suspended four staff members of the hospital — Dr Usha AR, obsterician and gynaecologist who was duty, and three staff nurses, Yashoda BY, Savitha and Divya Bharathi.

The suspension order, signed by D Randeep, commissioner, Department of Health and Family Welfare, also said there would be a detailed inquiry into the gruesome incident.

Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar also visited the house where the woman and the new-born twins died.

What happened?

It was the helpless screams of the six-year-old that alerted neighbours to the plight of the family.

Six year old daughter of Kasturi, who died during delivery.

The six-year-old daughter of Kasturi, who died delivering twins at home. (supplied)

“The cries and screams at around 1 am brought the neighbours to the small hut where the girl stayed alone with her mother. But by the time they reached, the mother and both the babies had died,” an eye witness told South First.

According to neighbours, Kasturi, 30, a daily wage labourer from Tamil Nadu had moved to Tumakuru’s Bharathi Nagar six months ago, after her husband died by suicide in Bengaluru.

It was with great difficulty that Kasturi, who was pregnant, managed to find work as a domestic help.

“As she was already pregnant, she didn’t find a permanent job. She has not received any treatment throughout her pregnancy as no one guided her to medical care,” explained a senior official from Tumakuru.

Sequence of events

On Wednesday night around 8.30 pm, Kasturi went into labour and had severe pain. An old lady staying next door took her to Tumakuru government hospital for delivery.

Dr Usha, who was on duty, and the three staff nurses allegedly demanded that she produce her Taayi card (Mother card), which is issued to ensure the welfare of pregnant women, and for Aadhar card. Kasturi told them she had no such cards with her and needed admission immediately.

House where pregnant woman died during delivering wins after shunned by hospital in Tumakuru.

The house where the woman died while delivering wins after being shunned by a hospital in Tumakuru. (Supplied)

Dr Usha, the in-charge doctor, allegedly refused to admit her and sent her back home, or to the Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru, for admission.

“The girl and the woman returned home around 9.30 pm when their repeated pleading with the doctors proved futile. The woman’s labour pain got worse at around 1 am,” the eyewitness said.

The six-year-old’s helpless wailing at the sight of her mother screaming with pain finally brought the neighbours to the house — only to witness a shocking sight.

“We saw one baby boy lying dead near the leg of the woman, with umbilical cord still attached. The second baby was half delivered and dead. The mother was lying dead. It was heart- wrenching. Tumakuru hospital is known for bribes and negligence. The doctors and authorities responsible should be punished,” a neighbour, who did nt want to identified, told South First.

Incident sparks protests

People of the area protested after deaths and did not allow the bodies to be shifted unless the District Health Officer (DHO) and the chief surgeon of the district hosptial visited the spot and took action against those responsible.

The DHO DN Manjunath and Dr Veena H subsequently visited the house and spoke to the neighbours.

Health minister Dr K Sudhakar in Tumakuru, speaking to the authorities after a pregnant woman and her wins died.

Health minister Dr K Sudhakar in Tumakuru, speaking to authorities after Kasturi and her twins died. (Supplied)

The residents alleged that the district hospital doctors and staff do not perform deliveries unless they are paid bribes. And as Kasturi had no money, the residents alleged that the doctor and staff sent her away.

However, Dr Veena refuted allegations of negligence and told media that the woman was taken inside the labour room, but she refused examination.

“A detailed report on this has been submitted to the Health Commissioner and a show cause notice issued to the three staff nurses and Dr Usha who was on duty,” she said.

However, the DHO admitted that there were lapses and told South First that he has sought suspension of the nurses and duty doctor and the conduct of a detailed enquiry.

“The woman should have been admitted even without asking for any documents. This is gross negligence,” he said.

The residents have also urged the state government to ensure proper shelter is provided for the six-year-old daughter of Kasturi.’

‘Pregnant women need no documents’

Meanwhile, the Health Department has sent out a circular to all district hospials in the state directing them not to insist on any document — be it Taayi card, Aadhar card or Ration card — when a patient/woman comes seeking emergency care.

“Even if the patient does not have any document, they have to be treated on priority. No official should ask patient’s caste/category to provide healthcare. Relieving the patient’s pain and suffering in an emergency situation should be the priority of all duty doctors, nurses and other staff,” the circular stated.

The department warned in the circular that if any such incident recurs in the near future, it will not only dismiss the concerned officials but also initiate criminal proceedings against them.