Malappuram: Malappuram native N C Mohammed Sherif on Monday sought action against those responsible for the death of his twins.
His wife Shehla Thasni, who recovered from COVID-19, was reportedly denied treatment as the hospitals insisted on an RT-PCR test even though they had the antigen negative certificate. There was a delay of 14 hours before Shehla was admitted to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital on Saturday evening. She underwent the C-section on Sunday but the lives of the babies could not be saved.
"She was denied medical care even when her water broke. Can you imagine the pain she endured? The physical and mental agony she suffered. We had to travel for hours at a stretch for her to get medical care. This did not happen in UP. But in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts of Kerala,” an emotional Sherif said.
He also said that he will file complaints with the Health Minister and the DMO.
Recounting the events over the past few days, Sherif said that his wife tested COVID-19 positive on September 5 and had been under treatment at the Manjeri Medical College Hospital. He further said that DMO Dr Sakeena, nodal officer Dr P Shinas Babu, Dr Rehna of the gynaecology department were all supportive. The woman returned home on September 15 after her test results were negative. But she was admitted to the Manjeri hospital as she complained of intense pain.
“One of the staff behaved very rudely with my wife at the labour room. But we did not want to make an issue out of it and let go of the incident. My wife was in tears and pleaded against going to the Manjeri Medical College. Then we went to the EMC Hospital at Edavanna with all the medical records and the COVID negative certificate. The managing director of the hospital interacted cordially and said he would inform after checking with the doctor. I prayed fervently but my hopes were shattered. I was told that there were chances of the disease recurring. And was asked to seek treatment at other hospitals,” Sheriff recounted.
The pregnant woman had severe stomach and back pain during the wee hours of Saturday and was taken to the Manjeri Medical College Hospital around 4.30am.
“Though she was admitted to the labour room, the hospital staff's behaviour was curt and said ‘Only COVID patients are treated her. Your wife cannot be treated here.’ I tried to reason with them that a private hospital had turned us away. But they insisted that my wife was not in labour and told us that she was being discharged. I then asked them to refer to us to another hospital. The hospital then prepared a reference report to the government hospital at Kottaparambu. Then another doctor examined her and said that she was in pain and that it was better not to leave now. But by then she was referred to Kozhikode. Though she was in acute pain, Manjeri Medical College denied treatment to her. We left the hospital by 11.45am.
“My wife was in agony by then and started crying out aloud during our journey to the hospital. My words failed to console her. We reached Kottaparambu hospital by 1.38pm. But there were no gynaecology doctors at the hospital and we were referred to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. But they also said that there could be rush at the Medical College and it was better to choose another hospital,” Sherif said.
He then called up Santhi Hospital at Omassery.
“But they sought a COVID-free certificate. I told them we had the certificate from Manjeri Medical College Hospital. But they said that was not sufficient and insisted on the RT-PCR test. I then sought details about the COVID test at Ashwini lab in Kozhikode. They told me it would take 24 hours for the results to be available. I called up Omassery hospital and informed this. But they refused to provide treatment. Seeing my wife's plight, I called again and demanded they provided treatment. However, they stuck to their stand of no treatment without RT-PCR,” he added.
Then Sherif contacted KMCT Medical College at Mukkam and they agreed to provide medical care. The antigen test was held and the result was negative. After scanning, she was referred to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.
Sherif further said that Health Minister K K Shailaja and Malappuram DMO Dr Sakeena had called up and made enquiries after the incident. The minister assured him that action would be taken, he added.
“ We did not even get justice from the government hospital .This should not happen again. None should be denied medical treatment. Action should be taken against the doctor at the Manjeri Medical College,” Sherif asserted.
He further pointed out the need to change the rules on testing. “We returned home after the state government's antigen tests said she has recovered from COVID-19. Still we were denied treatment. Steps should be taken so that private hospitals also accept these results. If this is not implemented, similar instances will be repeated.”