H&FW slapped with legal notice for alleged dereliction

30 days notice expired on Sept 25

Morung Express News
Dimapur | September 27 

In addition to the COVID-19 burden, the Department of Health & Family Welfare (H&FW) has found itself staring at a likely lawsuit over alleged negligence. 

Sometime around mid-August, a video clip did the rounds on social media, of a man admitted at the District Hospital, Dimapur, struggling to breathe. The man passed away, allegedly for a lack of oxygen cylinders in the Hospital. 

While it made the news, it was passed off as just another instance of hospital death; however, the family of the deceased took a step further, rather uncommon in this part of the world.

The brother of the deceased, citing negligence on the part of the government hospital, took recourse to the law seeking justice. 

More than a month since the incident, the deceased person’s brother, Kuputo Chophy has gone public on the legal steps he has taken. 

According to Chophy, the incident happened on the intervening night of August 15-16 after which he sought legal aid.

His legal counsel subsequently served a notice to the Department of Health & Family Welfare on August 26. 

In the legal notice, made available to the newspapers, it was alleged that his late brother Lovito Chophy was brought to the District Hospital for emergency medical care at around 2:00 am. However, it claimed that the patient was made to wait despite his deteriorating condition. It added that there was no emergency doctor and it was “some hours” before a nurse attended to the patient, putting him on oxygen support. 

The oxygen ran out allegedly after 10-15 minutes and there was no replacement. 

It also held that during the entire ordeal of around 4 hours, the emergency doctor and hospital staff on duty did not respond to request for attending to the patient. 

“That my client is well aware of the COVID19 SOP in operation which is to be followed before admitting the patient in hospital, the fact remain that the Truenat screening test report of the patient returned negative, however, even after the COVID19 test returning negative the patient was not admitted in the Hospital despite repeated pleading, and the patient was left dying unattended, in a negligent manner showing no sense of professional responsibilities thereby committing grave professional misconduct and negligence,” the notice contended. 

A request for post-mortem was also allegedly declined.  

Citing the alleged negligence and the resultant loss of life, depriving “a woman of husband and 3 minors (of) a father and source of income…” the notice contended that the Nagaland H&FW Department is liable to compensate the bereaved family by a lump sum of Rs 35,00,000. 

Failing to compensate within 30 days of date of issue of the legal notice, it said that legal action will be initiated against the H&FW in a court of law.