The death of a tribal pregnant woman as the ambulance ferrying her to hospital ran out of fuel has come under the scanner of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) with the apex rights panel asking the Odisha Chief Secretary to disburse Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.
A pregnant woman- Tulasi Munda- died on the way when the ambulance carrying her ran out of petrol in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha.
The tribal woman from Hanida village of Mayurbhanj district was admitted to the Bangiriposhi community health centre 4 October, 2019. However, the doctors referred her to Pandit Raghunath Murmu medical college and hospital in Baripada, 40 km away, after they diagnosed her with high blood pressure, according to to petition filed rights activist and lawyer Radhakant Tripathy.
The ambulance carrying Tudu traveled for 15 kilometres and failed to move further as it ran out of fuel. As the expectant mother was stranded on the way and could not be hospitalized before she could be rushed to the medical college hospital, the petition maintained.
“While taking into consideration all the facts and circumstances of the case, it is established that the patient died due to an ambulance before reaching the hospital. The victim was a pregnant woman and could not reach the hospital due to an ambulance. The patient would have survived, if the ambulance was in proper condition”, the NHRC in its order stated.
This act of negligence has violated the Right to Health and Right to Life of the deceased victim under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the State Govt. is vicarious liable, the NHRC observed.
The NHRC directed the Chief Secretary to release compensation of Rs. 2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased victim and submit the compliance report within 8 weeks of compensation along with proof of payment.