Stillborn baby's body kept near mother for a day, complaint against Kottayam hospital

Four children died of post-Covid inflammatory complication in Kerala

Kottayam: In a shocking incident, a stillborn baby was not removed from the vicinity of its unwell mother for over 21 hours at a hospital here.

Even though the mother, Afsana – a guest labourer working at a textile shop in Adimali – had pleaded with the staff at the Gynaecology ward of the Medical College Hospital to remove the body, nothing was done all that time.

Earlier on Tuesday, Afsana was initially taken to a hospital in Adimali after she experienced labour pains. From there, she was referred to the Kottayam Medical College Hospital. However, Afsana gave birth in the ambulance on the way. When she arrived at the Kottayam Medical College Hospital, it was found that the baby had no life and that Afsana was COVID-19 positive.

Afsana was subsequently shifted to the COVID-19 ward but the body of her baby was wrapped in a cloth and placed on a stretcher immediately outside the ward. Afsana claimed the body was finally shifted from there only by 2.30pm on Wednesday.

"The infant's body was near me all the time. To my shock, its face was not covered. I pleaded with the duty nurse to take the body away from there but she told me that the officials concerned were informed and that they would come soon," said the distraught mother.

Afsana said that she cried all night and till afternoon the next day watching the deceased infant’s face. "Later, they took away the body but did not tell me what had been done to it," she said.

"We will file a complaint with the Health Department. Meanwhile, some hospital staff threatened us for informing others about the incident," Afsana said.

Afsana's husband is Amjad Hussain, who belongs to Assam, and the couple has a six-year-old child.

Hospital's stand
According to hospital authorities, the body of Afsana’s baby has been shifted to the mortuary. Reacting to the allegations, hospital superintendent Dr T K Jayakumar said: "Staff on duty at the Gynaecology Department said that the infant's body was placed far away from the labour room."

"All stillborn infants are shifted to the mortuary and are later buried together," he said.

The superintendent also said that no complaints have been received regarding the plight faced by Afsana.

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