Baby death: Doc, nurse to appear before panel

Chennai: The doctor and staff nurse posted at Kanchipuram Additional Primary Health Centre were called for an enquiry this morning by the panel members that was constituted to probe into the case of nurse who has been slapped with charges of disjointing the head of a foetus while attempting delivery process.

However, it is alleged that the nurse has been absconded. The Deputy Director of Health Services, Chengalpet Unit, Dr V K Palani denied the allegation.

“The doctor and nurse have been shifted to Pavunjur Block Primary Health Centre. They have been ordered to appear before the committee today,” Palani told News Today.

The victim, a native of Cuddalore, was admitted to Chengalpet Government College and Hospital for further treatment. Provoked by the incident, people of Cuddalore staged a demonstration in front of PHC in their locality and on East Coast Road.

Following which, Cheyyur Tahsildhar Senthilkumar and police force from Koovathur reached the spot to pacify the residents and assured of taking stringent measures. The demonstration hampered the vehicular flow for about 30 minutes.

When the severed head was handed over to the family, it is learnt that they denied to take it. It is said the woman is still in a serious condition and undergoing surgery at the hospital.

However, Tamilnadu Public Health And Preventive Medicine Director, K Kolandhaisamy, said, “The mother is doing fine and the post-mortem report is awaited.’

It is learnt that the 20-year-old T Bommi, a resident of a village near Koovathur was rushed to the PHC at 6 am on Wednesday due to labour. The doctors are available only from 9 am to 4 pm and staff nurse manage the patients who visit the centre in the absence of doctors.

“Fetal heart sound was recorded to be ‘nil’ when the nurse checked the vitals which indicated intrauterine death. Chances of risk becomes high when the patient is transported to a different hospital, which prompted the nurse to start the delivery process during which the head descended down the birth canal,’ added Palani.

Soon after the incident came to light, a committee was formed by the State Health Secretary, Dr Beela Rajesh. “The panel also stated that the chances of separation of head from torso stand up to five per cent in the case of intrauterine death. When we rushed to the spot we saw it for ourselves that the skin had peeled off of legs. The committee also suspects that it could have happened in neck which could have led to muscle weakness when pressure is applied to pull out the fetus,” he added.

A member of the panel also stated that the initial probe confirmed that it was a pre-term baby and was weighing only 1.4 kg as against the normal 2.7 kg.

The relatives who accompanied the pregnant woman have a different story to tell. They stated that she developed labour in midnight and the delivery was delayed as the nurse felt the possibility of a normal delivery.

“However, later she was shifted to Chengalpet Medical College Hospital and we realised the head was severed from torso,” said a relative.

Doctors Association for Social Equality (DASE) general secretary, Dr G Ravindranath said, “The government is forcing the PHCs to conduct deliveries which is merely to project the centres are in a positive light quoting the number of deliveries and other such statistics. It should be mandated that deliveries should be carried out only in well-equipped centres.”

Bhavani Prabhakar