Tale of A Tragedy: How Young Mother Died With Her Unborn Twins

by Saima Bhat

SRINAGAR: Heart-wrenching scenes were witnessed in Kharpora village of Kokernag in south Kashmir on Saturday. A young woman, pregnant with twins, died at the hospital along with her unborn babies. The deceased was Ruqaya, wife of Javed Ahmad.

The Day of Death

On Saturday, April 26, 30-year-old Ruqaya was accompanied by her family members to the Child and Maternity Hospital, Shair Bagh, Anantnag. She was pregnant with twins.

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When she reached the hospital, her address as per the family became the reason for the problems. The woman hailed from Kharpora village, a locality declared Coronavirus red zone by the administration.

A video that has gone viral on social media shows her family alleging that in the hospital, she was not attended and was sent from one room to another. “First one baby died and then the second. After that she had blood loss and passed away,” said one family member in the video that is still on circulation on the social media.

The family alleged that doctors in the hospital refused to “attend or touch her.”

The doctors of the hospital, however, rejected the claims made by the family and said the deceased had suffered “Intra-Uterine Death (IUD)” of her twin four days ago.

The doctors are quoted to have said that the lady died soon after delivering dead twin. “We are yet to figure out whether she died of pulmonary embolism or was she a Covid-19 patient,” said one doctor.

The death has prompted action. Authorities ordered an inquiry to ascertain the facts. “An inquiry has been ordered into the incident and I have asked the inquiry committee to submit its report within two working days,” Principal, Government Medical College, Anantnag, Dr Showkat Geelani told a local news agency. Geelani has further said, “Truth will definitely come out and the samples have been taken from the woman as a precautionary measure to check whether she was infected with Coronavirus.”

The Funeral

After taking her swabs for Covid-19 testing, the body was handed over to the family. A pall of gloom descended her native place when the bodies reached. Agitated, the locals castigated authorities over the delay in the handling of the case. “It is a mass murder,” said a local Aasif.

Later, her funeral witnessed participation of hundreds of people, raising serious concern over the effectiveness of lockdown. “If the village has been declared red zone, how come people were allowed to gather and participate in the funeral,” asked a local, Owais Wani.

The Lapse

A doctor quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines says that all pregnant women who visit hospital have to be treated as Covid-19 probable. Despite the warning, the body of the deceased was handed over to the family. A day later, she tested Coroanvirus positive posthumously, by a testing lab of CD hospital Srinagar.

“The pregnant woman with a twin pregnancy who died in Anantnag Maternity Hospital yesterday has tested Covid-19 positive,” said Dr S Muhammad Salim Khan, the spokesman for the GMC and allied hospitals.

The hospital’s Medical Superintendent has on record said the family had been asked to follow the recommended guidelines for the burial of Coronavirus patients, but why the body was handed over to the family has no answers. She further said three doctors and two nurses, who might have come in contact with the woman, have been moved to quarantine.

A doctor, working in the hospital said the body was handed over in violation of the norms. As per the protocol, the body should have been kept in a mortuary until her Covid report would have come.”

Red Zone desertion: Shangus in down south. KL Image: Umar Khursheed

Additional deputy commissioner Anantnag, Syed Yasir terming the incident as unfortunate said her death cannot be attributed to her being positive. In a Tweet, he wrote, “The unfortunate death of a pregnant woman yesterday at MCH Ang can’t be attributed to COVID, though samples were taken post her death have reported positive. The alleged negligence on part of maternity hospital is being enquired into.”

Holding the district administration responsible, Sajad Ahmad, a local said, “How in the world did DM Anantnag allowed her last rites to be conducted as per rituals when all of you knew that her sample was already taken, +ve or –ve doesn’t matter now.”

As the lady was laid to rest, the Covid deaths for the union territory of J&K reached seven.

The Spreader

Mohammad (name changed), a local in Kharpora, informed Kashmir Life that a resident of Srinagar had come in the village to purchase a cow.

But both the seller and buyer got involved in a fight over the price of the cow. As his neighbours got to know about the fight they came out of their homes to help. At least ten people came to help.

Mohammad did not inform what happened to the purchase of cow but said all the ten neighbours have now tested positive for the Coronavirus. “This is an indication that the cow buyer was actually positive who spread the disease to ten people first and now the whole village is battling with the virus and has been declared as Red zone.”


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