SRINAGAR: In a damning indictment of poor standards of public healthcare in Jammu and Kashmir , a woman was forced to deliver a stillborn on the road in summer capital Srinagar after she was turned away by Kashmir’s only tertiary care maternity hospital.

The J&K government today ordered a probe into a tragic incident that took place on Thursday evening.

According to reports, the victim had slipped into labour on Thursday afternoon at her native Moori village in Kalaroos of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, some 140 km from Srinagar city.

“We live in a far off place. There is still four to five feet of snow. With the help of my neighbours, we lifted her on a bedstead and walked more than 10 kilometres to a local health centre,” Wazir Ahmad, a relative of the victim, said.

Medical records of the woman show that she was referred to Kupwara district hospital from where she was again referred to Lal Ded Maternity Hospital in Srinagar for specialised treatment.

“When doctors checked her, they ran some tests, prescribed some medicines and asked us to go back home. It was around 8:30 pm. When we told them it was too late, they misbehaved with us and asked us to leave the premises,” he said.

The family was reportedly on way to home when the woman delivered a stillborn during the journey, “Was it because we are poor that we were treated this way? I want justice for my child. The culprits should be punished,” the husband of the victim, who didn’t identify himself, said.

The incident was reported by a local TV station, prompting an uproar across the Valley following which the government today directed the head of Government Medical College, to which the LD Hospital is affiliated, to probe the incident.

According to divisional commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan said, an order has been issued to “look into the factual position as regards denial of entry of the woman into the hospital leading her delivering on the roadside as a consequence of which baby born to her died.”

"This incident needs a thorough inquiry to find out the factual position, so that appropriate action is taken against the concerned if found liable for such negligence/ act. You are accordingly directed to enquire into the matter and furnish the inquiry report along with your explicit comments within two days, treating the matter most urgent," the order issued by Khan states.

Medical Superintendent of Lal Ded hospital, Dr Shabir Sidiqui said the hospital management has issued standing instructions to faculty to provide night stay to patients who are referred to the hospital from far-flung areas. “We have also ordered an inquiry into the tragic incident,” he said.