Chennai hospital staff suspended after giving stillborn baby's remains in cardboard cartontext_fields
Chennai: A staff member of Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital (KMC) was suspended for medical negligence on Monday after he allegedly demanded a bribe to cremate the body of a stillborn baby girl from Chennai’s Pulianthope.
The mortuary staff, identified as Panneer Selvam was also accused of mishandling the mortuary process, handing over the baby’s remains to Masood, the father, in a cardboard carton without a shroud.
Masood was also forced to take the baby’s remains with him after he was unable to pay the bribe. The baby’s body was later buried with the help of volunteers.
A committee will reportedly, be formed to investigate the matter and Panneer Selvam will remain suspended until a report is issued.
The baby was born prematurely on December 5 during heavy rains in Chennai. Masood, the father, and their relatives couldn't take Sowmya, the mother, to the hospital due to the heavily flooded streets and a lack of available ambulances.
Despite the stillbirth, the parents faced difficulties cutting the umbilical cord. Neighbours of Sowmya and Masood offered to take them to G3 Hospital by a cycle rickshaw. However, upon arrival, they found the gates locked, and their calls went unanswered.
They went to the Muthu Hospital next where treatment was initially refused but later administered after the police intervened.
The doctors at the hospital examined and confirmed that the child was already dead. The baby's mother was saved by first-stage treatment.
Masood was allegedly advised by the private hospital to take the mother and the dead child to Kilpauk Government Hospital, which they did. The hospital staff and the policemen on duty at the hospital told Masood to ‘bring a letter from the concerned area police station to cremate the body.
When Masood approached the mortuary staff to bury his baby, the KMC staff demanded a bribe of Rs 2, 500 for cremation and to leave with his baby’s corpse if he could not make the payment, Masood said, reports The News Minute.
He said that he could not afford to make the payment and did not know her body’s condition after four days in the mortuary.
Panneer Selvam handed over the bay’s remains to Masood in a cardboard box without a shroud. The family had to arrange to buy a white shroud to wrap the baby’s body as per Islamic custom.
Only when the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) intervened, were Masood and his family able to bury their daughter on December 10.
Dr Muthuselvan, the Dean of KMC, during an interview with Puthiya Thalaimurai, revealed that a police investigation indicated that the baby had died of natural causes and there was no post-mortem conducted.
“In consultation with the state’s Health Minister [Ma Subramanian] and KMC’s Director of Medical Education, we suspended the mortuary staff member as soon as we came to know of the incident. An investigative committee has been set up. The [Health] Minister has asked us to closely monitor the mortuary so that incidents like this are not repeated,” Muthuselvan said.
He also added that the investigative committee will look into issues including the hospital staff demanding a bribe for the baby’s cremation.
The incident triggered public outrage on the alleged medical negligence. A complaint has now been registered with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).