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    Maternal death in District Hospital of Tuensang, Nagaland

    Image used for representational purposes
    Date : 11/12/2016


    Case title: Mrs.N.O. Asonla versus the State of Nagaland &Ors
    W.P (C) No. 251 (K) of 2016,
    IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUWAHATI, KOHIMA BENCH

    Synopsis:

    This petition is filed is being filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution of India in the Wake of petitioner’s sister in law tragic maternal death due to lack of facilities and services in District Hospital of Tuensang. The deceased, Lt Anungla passes away because the District hospital of Tuensang did not have basic facility and medical services to secure her of her fundamental right to good health. Anungla died because she did not receive timely emergency quality care and services. District Hospital referred Anungla because it did not have necessary equipment, services and facility to give her basic care denying her fundamental Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

    Through this petition, the petitioner seeks intervention of this Hon’ble Court to direct the respondents to pay compensation to the deceased’s family and direct the respondents to; reimburse payment incurred to the referral services, violating JSSK schemes, of maternal health schemes that are rightly entitlements of every pregnant women, reimburse for the cost of stay in the private hospital, 73,696 INR because the respondent failed to provide the facility in the District Hospital and reimburse for the stay charged in the District Hospital amounting to 17,000 INR. The petitioner further also seeks to ensure that no women succumbs to preventable maternal death in Nagaland and that various governmental entitlements for pregnant women be provided according to the guidelines set in and to implement in true letter and in spirit and the required services and facilities to be made available in the District Hospital of Tuensang envisaged under the IPHS.

    Status (In court):

    Pending

    Background:

    This petition is being filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution of India in the wake of the petitioner petitioner’s sister-in-law tragic maternal death due to lack of facilities and services in the District Hospital of Tuensang. The deceased, Lt. Anungla passed away because the District Hospital did not have the basic facility and medical services to secure her fundamental right to good health. Lt. Anungla leaves behind four children and she is from a weak economic background, working in the field staying in Tuensang whilst her husband works as a pastor in Lokhung village, under Noksen block, earning a meagre salary of 5000 INR. This was her fifth pregnancy. Her pregnancy was confirmed in the month of May. In her 8th month, on 5th October, she had fever and started vomiting. Her husband took her to the district hospital and was admitted in the hospital. Thereafter, on the same night her feet, body, and head eventually started becoming bluish and blackish in colour. Her blood test report on 6th October and 7th showed that Anungla had low haemoglobin count and high rate reading ESR. However blood was not administered to her in the District Hospital to increase her HB blood count. The diagnosis of the hospital recorded it as Tubercular Meningitis (TBM). Her condition deteriorated within two days.

    Lacking facility and services, they referred her to District Hospital Mokokchung or to any other hospital. The deceased was taken to a private hospital, woodland nursing home in Mokokchung. She was being treated there for three days, however the hospital could not save her life and her baby and she was declared dead on 11.10.2016. Cause of death was “Cardio Respiratory arrest due to viral meningitis”.

    She was denied of her right to referral services as the Tuensang District Hospital did not have one. An Ambulance was arranged by the family of the deceased from Longpang PHC however, they had to pay for the fuel costing 6000 INR. This in clear violation under the JSSK guidelines wherein referral services are to be provided for free for any pregnant women. There is no provision for blood transfusion. Charges were also being paid for their stay.

    Health activist visited Lt. Anungla family and community to uncover the steps that lead to the maternal death. Ultimately, the team found that Anungla and her baby died due to lack of services and facilities, and substandard medical treatment in the District Hospital of Tuensang.

    Respondent No.1 in this case is the State of Nagaland, through the Chief Secretary, who has not filed any reply in the court, till date.

    Respondent No.2 is the Commissioner and Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Department who has not filed any reply in the court.

    Respondent No.3 is the Principal Director at the directorate level of the health and Family Welfare with no reply filed.

    Respondent No.4 is the Mission Director of the National Health Mission in the State of Nagaland who is responsible for the implementation. No reply has been filed till date.

    Respondents No.5 and Respondents No. 6 is the Medical Superintendent and the Chief Medical Officer respectively. Replies have not yet been filed.

    Respondent No. 7 is the Union of India who has also not filed any reply till date.

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