NHRC notice to the Government of Madhya Pradesh over the death of a baby due the denial of a ventilator by the doctor at Bundelkhand Medical College of Sagar District (11.02.2019)

New Delhi, 11th February, 2019

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that a one-and-a-half-year-old girl died of burn injuries after she was allegedly denied a ventilator in the Bundelkhand Medical College of Sagar District in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, the 9th February, 2018. Allegedly, the doctor told her parents to arrange for the ventilator if they wanted to save the baby’s life. As per news reports, the parents of the baby were allegedly told that the Hospital did not have the ventilator. On the other hand, the Dean of the Medical College has stated that there are 17 ventilators available in the College.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, amount violation of human rights of the victim. Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Madhya Pradesh calling for a report in the matter within four weeks regarding action taken against the responsible doctor/ staff along with the measures taken to ensure that such incidents do not recur in future.

It has further observed that going by the media reports it appears that the ventilator was available but the doctor on duty did not make any efforts to shift the injured baby to the ICU or any other ward to save her life.

According to the media reports, carried today on the 11th February, 2019, the baby was brought to the Hospital with severe burn injuries as a pot of boiling water reportedly fell on her. With 70 per cent burn injuries, the condition of the baby started deteriorating. The doctor told the parents that the baby needed to be put on a ventilator but the Burns Department does not have one.

Reportedly, the family members, as mentioned in the news report, insisted that a ventilator should be arranged somehow. The doctor then asked them to get one themselves adding “it costs Rs. one crore.” The baby died the same day. After a video of the conversation went viral on Sunday, the doctor was suspended. Reportedly, the Dean of the hospital said that a ventilator was available in the ICU where, the patient could have been shifted.