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HIV stigma: Father forced to deliver baby
Two doctors suspended
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, June 29
Chief Minister Mayawati tonight suspended two doctors of Lala Lajpat Rai Medical College in Meerut where an HIV positive woman was denied institutional delivery by the doctors.

The two doctors who were suspended are head of the gynaecology and obstetrics department Dr Abhilasha Gupta and junior doctor Dr Urmila.

The prompt decision brought some relief to the harassed family, which went through a traumatic experience last night when the father had to act as midwife and deliver a baby boy in the labour room.

The shocking incident involving the doctors of the college not only makes a mockery of the multi-crore rupee AIDS awareness programme, but also shows how health care is denied to even those who try to access it.

The 27-year-old woman already has three daughters. She is clueless about how she became HIV positive. Her husband is HIV negative. She was aware of her HIV status and was already under treatment.

The doctors refused to handle the case and reportedly kept instructing the father how to deliver the child. He was forced to cut the umbical cord, deliver the placenta and clean the baby when the doctors present on the scene refused to touch the patient.

According to the husband, the doctors refused to treat her, as they said that she could infect other patients and doctors.

Around 8 p.m. on Thursday, the pregnant woman’s husband Prakash brought her to the emergency ward of the hospital as she was in labour and wanted to be admitted for delivery.

As soon as the husband wheeled in his wife into the female ward, the doctor in charge said that as the patient was HIV positive, she could not deliver in the hospital.

“I kept pleading to the doctor to take care of her as I had nowhere to go so late at night.” But the doctors refused to relent. The hapless husband approached Dr Gupta, who also refused to help.

”By then, the baby’s head had already approached and I had no choice but to assist her in delivering the child with verbal instructions from those present in the delivery room,” charged the father.

In the morning, the father informed the doctor who was treating her wife for HIV ailment, who, in turn, asked him to lodge a formal complaint.

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