Baby Dies Without Care in Mumbai as Doctor Refuses Rs 500 Notes
Women in New Delhi wait to exchange currency notes outside a bank. (Photo: AP)
Women in New Delhi wait to exchange currency notes outside a bank. (Photo: AP)

Baby Dies Without Care in Mumbai as Doctor Refuses Rs 500 Notes

The pandemonium unleashed by the demonetisation policy has left many confused and panicked about exchanging currency.

But while hospitals were expected to accept the old currency, an infant boy in Mumbai didn’t get the chance to survive as the hospital refused to accept his parents’ deposit. They were in Rs 500 currency notes.

The infant’s father, Jagadish Sharma is a carpenter. His wife, Kiran was under the care of Dr Sheetal Kamath in Jeevan Jyot Hospital and Nursing Home in Govandi.

According to tests and sonography done at the hospital on 8 November, Kiran was supposed to have her baby in the first week of December.

But on the morning of 9 November, she went into premature labour and delivered the baby at home. Since she had lost a lot of blood during the birth, and the baby had been born premature, Kiran was rushed to the hospital.

Though Dr Kamath gave her primary care, she refused to admit her and the baby because her husband couldn’t pay the entire deposit of Rs 6,000 in currency notes of denomination of Rs 100 or less.

It was the day after the PM declared the new demonetisation policy, and the banks and ATMs were shut. But Dr Kamath reportedly did not relent.

When the baby’s health worsened the next day, his parents rushed him to a hospital in Chembur. But unfortunately he died while his parents waited their turn to see a doctor.

When contacted by Mumbai Mirror, Dr Kamath conceded that the reason not to admit Kiran and her baby was their inability to pay the deposit in denominations of Rs 100. But she added that the baby required a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) facility, which her hospital did not have.

I carried out the primary check-ups and the necessary intervention. But she could not pay for the treatment with valid currency, so how could I forcibly admit her?
Dr Kamath told Mumbai Mirror

The report received some backlash on social media and people claimed that this news wasn’t true. Mumbai Mirror later posted the audio clip of the interview.

The police also confirmed the case later in the evening.

"We registered a case against the doctor for causing death by negligence (IPC section 304A) and disobedience of order duly promulgated by public servant (IPC section 188)," said Shahaji Umap, Deputy Commissioner of Police, zone VI.

There were clear instructions from the state government to hospitals that they must continue to accept Rs 1,000 and 500 notes and a circular to this effect had been issued, the DCP said.

"In our investigation we found that the baby died due to refusal by the doctor to treat him," the officer said.

No arrest has been made so far.

(With inputs from Mumbai Mirror and PTI)

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