Nepal | August 20, 2019

Former lawmaker Shah, husband remanded to seven-day custody

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 6

Lalitpur District Court has remanded former lawmaker Gayatri Shah and her husband Rajesh Mahato to seven-day judicial custody today.

Police had arrested them yesterday on the charge of abandoning their newborn baby in a hospital, following an FIR lodged by Nepal Mediciti Hospital on April 4.

The couple had been staging protest on the hospital premises accusing the hospital of lying about the baby’s health condition while inside mother’s womb during their routine check-up. The mother had given birth to a baby with Down syndrome on March 12 at the hospital.

Down syndrome is a genetic condition where children show some level of intellectual disability, a distinct appearance and some health and developmental challenges.

Children born with Down syndrome have difficulty growing like normal children.

Former lawmaker Shah and her husband have accused the doctors involved in Shah’s check-up. During the protest, they alleged that doctors lied to them saying the child was ‘completely healthy’. The hospital management has, however, defended itself saying it was not possible to know about the exact health condition of a foetus in Nepal.

Meanwhile, Gayatri Shah’s brother Subhash Shah told THT that the hospital had wrongly accused the couple of abandoning the baby.

He claimed that his sister had never abandoned the baby, in fact she had been breastfeeding the baby in the neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital three times a day. Subhash also said the parents of the newborn baby had always been at the hospital ever since its birth.

Moreover, Subhash accused the hospital of not allowing the mother to breastfeed the baby.

Nepal Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, issuing a press statement on April 16, had said studying all the evidence available, it could not be said that the doctor involved in regular check-up of the mother had made any errors. The society also said the facility for complete genetic check-up of foetus was not available in Nepal.

Gynaecologist Dr Nutan Sharma, however, said only 70 to 75 per cent genetic problems of a foetus could be identified using the facilities available in the country at present.

A version of this article appears in print on May 07, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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