Last Sunday I took a friend of mine to the emergency gynecology ward in one of Delhi's private mission hospitals. It was a lean day with not much of activity and I was chatting with my friend's husband, it was then I noticed a pregnant women walking in along with two of her relations. They have been referred to this hospital by the nearby government hospital as the private hospital would take better care of her. The reason: the estimated weight of the baby she was carrying was grossly under-weight, measuring only 1.2 kgs even after nine months of pregnancy. She was in great discomfort as her membrane broke, and sat next to me in a wooden bench.
In the meantime, I saw a lady doctor talking angrily out of frustration with relations of this pregnant lady, including her husband. With little knowledge of Hindi, I couldn't follow the conversation. Another friend had come by this time, and also a senior doctor was summoned by the lady doctor who first talked to pregnant lady's relations. The doctor was saying they have to do C-section, and they have to keep the baby in the ventilator post-operation because of complications they have detected.
The relations, who to me seem like a middle-class family, just refused to accept this. They didn't want to sign the admission form and was arguing with doctors not to keep the baby in the ventilator. From the time the pregnant lady arrived, this went for more than half-an-hour. The lady in pain was not even asked or consulted, and was looking at her husband and two relations helplessly. And suddenly they all decided not to admit her and took the pregnant lady away. The doctors were taken aback but not surprised like I was, probably they see such cases more.
Then on Sunday night as my friend was admitted in hospital, a lady got admitted well past 10 PM. This lady just delivered a baby three weeks back via C-section, and the stiches gave up and it has become a wound. According to this lady, as narrated to my friend, her in-laws refused to take her to the hospital and didn't allow her to make phone calls to her parents. But somehow she made the call and her parents brought her to the hospital. Apparently her parents have to plead with her in laws for doing this.
If this is happening in an urban centre like Delhi, one can imagine the plight of the women in rural areas. The common theme in these two incidents: the women in question are not consulted and they remained a spectator. I only pray that the pregnant lady delivered safely and her baby is looked after well. I was wondering had these been financially independent, would they have been subjected to such treatment. Probably yes, and knowing the way our society works for many of these women, it still may not be enough.