Odisha govt directed to pay damage for infant death

Cuttack: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Odisha government to pay Rs three lakh damage to a woman who lost her newborn child in a government hospital a year ago due to alleged medical negligence.

The woman, a resident of Bhadrak district of Odisha had given birth in October last but the child died in Chandbali Community Health Centre.

NHRC had issued the notice in June this year asking the Odisha chief secretary to show cause as to why the mother would not be compensated.

After going through the government reply, the NHRC said “The contents seem to be an attempt to effectively defend the state of health administration.

“Medical negligence cannot be justified under any circumstances when it results in the loss of an infant,” the NHRC said in its order adding that death of an infant due to medical negligence is a gross violation of human rights.

“The Odisha chief secretary is directed to make an interim compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the victim?s mother Rashmita Sahoo,” the NHRC order delivered last week said asking the chief secretary to submit proof of payment with acknowledgement of its receipt by the victim?s mother within six weeks positively.

The state government has also been asked to submit a report showing departmental action taken against the erring doctor due to whose negligence the newborn died. The matter was brought to the notice of NHRC by rights activist and advocate Prabir Kumar Das, who received copy of the order yesterday.

The case inter alia pertains to the death of two newborns in the hospital on the intervening night of October 17 and 18 of 2013. As the newborns had breathing problems, the concerned doctor had asked the medical staff to put the babies on oxygen.

But the babies died within hours of their birth as they could not be put on oxygen because the storeroom in which the oxygen cylinders were kept was locked and the store in-charge, who had the keys, was on leave, it was alleged.

The enquiry report had concluded that in one of the cases the child was stillborn and oxygen was not necessary but the other baby died due to lack of oxygen, which was a clear case of medical negligence.