Chhattisgarh High Court Initiates Suo Moto Proceedings After Woman Delivers Baby on Health Centre Floor

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Published on: June 13, 2024 08:57 IST

The Chhattisgarh High Court has initiated suo moto proceedings following a shocking incident where a 25-year-old woman was forced to deliver her baby on the floor of a health centre in Surguja district due to the absence of doctors and nurses. The court described the situation as a “very sorry state of affairs.”

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Sachin Singh Rajput took cognisance of a newspaper report detailing the incident, which occurred at Navanagar Sub-Health Centre (SHC) on June 8. The report revealed that the woman, in labour, arrived at the SHC with a Mitanin (Community Health Worker), but with no medical staff present, she had to deliver the baby on the floor.

According to the report, family members attempted to contact the medical staff, who did not respond. Consequently, the community health worker assisted in the delivery, and postnatal care was provided by a traditional midwife from the village, as only a Class IV employee was present at the health centre. The report also mentioned that this was not the first occurrence of such an incident.

The High Court expressed its concern, noting, “It is a very sorry state of affairs if the aforesaid situation is prevailing at SHC, Navanagar. When the state government is incurring a huge amount of money for providing medical facilities to the public at large residing in the remotest part of the state, and authorities and the staff responsible for managing health centres are themselves absent and missing when they are needed the most, the state ought to take some stringent measures.”

Additional Advocate General Yashwant Singh Thakur informed the court that the concerned medical officer had been suspended with immediate effect and an enquiry had been ordered. It was reported that the nurse on duty had met with an accident, but no supporting documents were provided.

The bench directed the Health and Social Welfare Department secretary to submit a personal affidavit detailing the steps taken in response to the incident and to ensure the viral video of the incident is stopped from circulating. The court also instructed the secretary to inform about any measures taken to appoint another medical officer at the SHC.

The incident, which occurred on June 8, led to the suspension of Dr. PN Rajwade, the Block Medical Officer of the concerned area, for prima facie negligence.

The High Court’s proactive stance underscores the urgency of addressing the healthcare deficiencies in remote areas and ensuring accountability among medical staff.

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