Sunita and Sanjiv Kumar were so happy when they gave birth to a baby girl.
Born prematurely at a government hospital in India’s northern Punjab state on July 20, the newborn girl was placed in an incubator.
The Kumars’ happiness, however, was short–lived. Their baby died shortly after doctors had removed her from the incubator.
Why? Her parents couldn’t pay the 200 rupees (£2.30, or just under US$4) to keep her incubated.
The hospital provided free support for the first two days, but then required the father pay for continued use of the incubator.
Kumar, an unemployed house painter, failed to get the amount needed. This led hospital officials to remove the infant from the incubator, which soon led to her death.
“We begged and pleaded with them to keep our child alive in the incubator, and that we would pay them the money later, but they refused,” Kumar said.
“They (the hospital) killed my child,” Sunita wailed. “I pleaded that my husband needed time to arrange the money, but to no avail, and the baby was taken out of the incubator.”
State Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal said that the child’s death was “unfortunate” and has formed a committee to investigate the incident.
He also made sure the couple was given £1,180 as compensation for their loss.
Dr. Iqbal Singh, the hospital’s superintendent, refused to comment on the case.