A woman in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir had to deliver her child in the premises of a district hospital on Saturday, after doctors allegedly refused to attend to her because she tested positive for the coronavirus, the Greater Kashmir reported.

Deputy Commissioner Bandipora Owais Ahmed issued a show-cause notice to medical superintendent and medical officer of District Hospital Bandipora who were on duty at the time of the incident. He also constituted a committee of officers to investigate the matter and submit a report within a week’s time.

The woman, a resident of Vewan – a remotest village of Bandipora district – was shifted to the district hospital after she developed labor pain on Saturday morning. However, when she tested positive for the virus, the doctors refused to treat her and told the family to take her to a designated Covid facility in Hajin, nearly 30 km from Bandipora.

By this time, the woman had developed intense pain and ended up delivering near the gate of the hospital, according to News18. The family alleged no doctor came out to see her even at this point. Abdul Aziz Bhat, the woman’s husband, said the doctors refused to admit her despite her “condition being evident to everyone”.

Hospital authorities denied the allegations.

“I referred her to CHC Hajin where Covid-19 positive patients from the district deliver, but due to unknown reasons they didn’t get into the ambulance and delivered on the road,” Dr Soiba, who attended to the pregnant woman, told Greater Kashmir.

Soiba denied allegations that the woman was rejected medical treatment, claiming she was administered injections before she was asked to go to Hajin. “However, unfortunately, her pregnancy precipitated which resulted in her unexpected delivery,” the doctor claimed.

Medical Superintendent Bandipora Hospital Bashir Ahmad Teeli also claimed that the staff attended to her while delivery was being performed. “After she tested positive, I immediately phoned the 108 free ambulance,” he added. “Meanwhile, the patient came downstairs but her labor precipitated in the hospital ground.”

The authorities said that the delivery was normal and the woman and child were stable. “As a precautionary measure, we are shifting the mother to Covid hospital at Pazalpora,” said Bashir.

Locals, including patients and their attendants, described the incident as “ugly and inhuman”.

“She cried in pain for half an hour and delivered in a pool of water at the hospital gate while her relatives tried to hide her in the blankets amid rain,” said Nasir Ahmad, an eyewitness.

Rubeena, another patient at the hospital, claimed the woman was “forced to deliver in the hospital premises”.