Delhi HC orders enquiry into medical negligence of pregnant woman who gave birth in a rickshaw


The Delhi high court has ordered an enquiry into case of medical negligence of a woman who was denied medical help when she went into labour. The order came after HRLN filed a writ petition against the Aruna Asaf government hospital in Delhi for ‘failure to conduct institutional delivery thereby violating the Petitioner’s fundamental rights guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution of India’. The petitioner, Pinki, went into labour on November 17, 2017. She, along with an ASHA worker, went to the Aruna Asaf Government Hospital in the city where she was admitted to the emergency ward. Here, after an examination, one Dr Moushomi decided that Pinki would not deliver any time soon and gave her painkillers and told her to come back after two days. But since Pinki was in a lot of pain, the ASHA worker suggested that she be admitted to the hospital – a request that the doctor promptly refused after admonishing them. Left with no other option, Pinki and the ASHA worker hired an auto rickshaw to go back home to the petitioner’s house which was 6 km away from the hospital. On the way, Pinki went into labour and delivered her baby near the ISBT Kashmiri Gate bus station in the rickshaw. Once they reached the Pinki’s house, an unskilled midwife was called to perform the rest of the delivery. The midwife demanded an amount of Rs 4,000 for the services rendered by her. Due to the unskilled and non-institutional delivery, Pinki faced several medical complications after giving birth. She was forced to seek expensive treatment at a private clinic afterwards. She spent around Rs 3,000 on medicines alone. HRLN filed the writ petition seeking compensation for the expenses incurred due to denial of heath care services by the Aruna Asaf Ali Government Hospital and sought an enquiry and action against the responsible staff members who denied Pinki the right to health enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. In response, the Delhi high court ordered that Pinki be compensation for the Rs 7,000 that she had to pay for her delivery and medication. The court also asked the department of health and family welfare to to institute a proper inquiry to determine whether there has been any medical negligence on the part of the attending doctor(s) within 12 weeks.