Sometimes, doctors go above and beyond their call of duty to aid people in trouble. In a remarkable sequence of events, a 29-year-old doctor in Odisha undertook a laborious walk up a hill and crossed a river to safely deliver the child of a tribal woman in the Maoist-affected Kandhamal district, reported the Hindustan Times.
The course of the incident
Dr Yagnadatta Rath, an ad-hoc doctor, who works at the Tumudibandha community health centre, Odisha, covered a distance of more than 1.5 km on foot to aid Raita.
Raita is a 23-year-old first-time mother of the Kutia Kondh tribe. She went into labour while she was on her way to the healthcare centre on foot.
By the time Dr Rath arrived at the spot, she had already delivered a baby girl, but her placenta had not come out. This left her susceptible to various complications. Rath responsibly took adequate measures to save the lives of both the first-time mother and her child.
The nearest Tumudibandha health centre is roughly 7km away from her village of Balam. Locals have to climb up a hill and cross a river to reach the health centre. Last Sunday, a pregnant Raita was carried by her husband and other family members to the health centre. However, after a while, they could not carry her any longer as she went into labour. Leaving her in the forest, her husband and family members ran to the nearest Tumudibandha block development officer (BDO) to seek help.
The BDO immediately contacted the health centre, and that’s when Rath set out on his mission. After covering the first four kms in an ambulance, the young doctor walked on foot for the rest of the way.
When I reached the spot, the woman had delivered a girl, but her placenta had not come out. Normally, there is a lot of bleeding at this stage. Luckily, nothing of that sort had happened, I asked the men to move away a little so that I could give her a little privacy. The baby weighed around 2.1 kg.” – Rath told the Hindustan Times.
After taking necessary emergency measures, Dr Rath took both the mother and her child to the health centre, where they are currently under observation. Rath stated that since it was her first delivery, she was scared about her child’s well-being. However, both are safe now and will be discharged on Friday.
The immediate need for proper access to healthcare across villages.
It’s disappointing that in 2018, there are vast patches of this country where entire villages do not have basic access to proper healthcare. When Rath had heard of Raita’s plight, he was extremely concerned about her condition, considering she was coming all the way from Balam village in that state of health.
“I had last been to that village a few years ago with a colleague for immunisation. I was worried how she would cross the river,” said Rath, whose wife is also a doctor at the same health centre.
As applaudable as Dr Rath’s actions were at the time of the incident, it should not come to this that doctors have to be climbing hills and crossing rivers to provide basic healthcare. It is significantly the State’s responsibility to develop the necessary healthcare infrastructure for its citizens. Especially, the tribal community, which is sheerly neglected by the state, suffers the most.
The Odisha Health and Welfare Department praised Dr. Rath and wrote on its Facebook page “We are proud of such role models in the department.”
This isn’t the first time that doctors from Odisha have daringly taken extraordinary measures to treat citizens for basic health concerns. There’s a lot the state government can do to ensure that citizens and doctors don’t risk their lives again.
Featured image source: Hindustan Times
Bhana is an intern with SheThePeople.TV