A 22-year-old woman in Bengaluru delivered a stillborn inside an autorickshaw outside KC General Hospital in the early hours of Monday after she was turned away by three state-run facilities, reported NDTV.

Nivedha had first visited KC General Hospital at 2 am when she was told that her baby was dead. In order to seek a second opinion, she visited Victoria Hospital but she was turned away since it is a designated Covid-19 hospital. She then visited Vanivilas, a maternity clinic in Srirampura, where she was once again turned away. Almost 7 hours later, Nivedha was back at KC General Hospital.

Nivedha’s mother Kumuda told The Times of India that they were made to wait outside KC General Hospital when they returned in the morning. Nivedha delivered the stillborn baby inside the autorickshaw before she was admitted to the hospital. Her condition is currently stable.

KC General Hospital Medical Superintendent Venkateshiah said doctors observed that the baby died days ago and not during labour. “We enquired about this incident and we were told that the gynaecologist informed the family when they visited the hospital at 2.30 am that the child is dead,” he told The News Minute. “The family sought a second opinion and this caused a lapse of 6 hours. When the family returned at 8.45 am, the woman was in the second to third stage and the process of delivery was started inside the auto outside the labour ward. It was completed after she was admitted at the hospital.”

Congress leader Siddaramaiah, who was the first to tweet about the woman’s plight, urged Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa to take action. “A pregnant woman, who was experiencing labour pain, was denied treatment by many hospitals in Bengaluru,” he tweeted. “She lost her newborn baby after delivering it in an auto-rickshaw. CM of Karnataka, I urge you to take action against all those hospitals that denied treatment.”

The former chief minister alleged that more non-coronavirus patients were dying in Karnataka due to denial of treatment. He urged the chief minister to cancel the licences of all hospitals responsible for this. “Just a mere warning will not move hospitals,” he added.

There have been reports that hospitals, while struggling to deal with the rising Covid-19 infections, are turning away patients. On Saturday the chief minister ordered private hospitals in the city to reserve 50% of their beds for Covid-19 patients. The remaining beds will tend to non-Covid patients.

Karnataka is scrambling to contain a surge in coronavirus cases. A complete week-long lockdown was imposed in Bengaluru on July 14. Strict restrictions were also imposed in the Dakshina Kannada district. Last week, Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu had said that coronavirus cases in the state may double within a month and that the next two months will be particularly challenging for the government in its fight against the health crisis.

Karnataka has reported 67,420 coronavirus cases and 1,403 deaths so far, according to the Union health ministry.

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