Let us call her Afeerah, meaning ‘covered in soil and dust’. The final hours in the life of the newborn baby girl discovered in a burning garbage dump were agonising. With 80% of her body burnt, the infant died at a hospital in Chak Jhumra on Wednesday, despite doctors’ best efforts to save her life.
Afeerah had been shifted by a Rescue 1122 team to the emergency ward of the Allied Hospital soon after her screams were heard. Although a medical team worked for 19 hours to save her life, Afeerah’s heart stopped at 3:45am.
She was treated at the Hassan Ward in the emergency department of the Allied Hospital, where she was administered a glucose IV drip and put on the ventilator. The three-member team supervising the treatment of the abandoned newborn comprised Dr Muhammad Junaid, Dr Muhammad Imtiaz and Dr Muhammad Wasif, and said she was about 30 hours old when brought to the hospital.
Following her death, the hospital administration immediately informed the area police of Mansoorabad for a postmortem and other legal formalities. Station House Officer (SHO) of Mansoorabad Abdul Ghafoor and Assistant Sub Inspector Khalid Mehmood took the body of the unclaimed child into their custody at the mortuary of the hospital.
The medico-legal officers (MLO) conducting the postmortem of the baby concluded that she had died of burn injuries. However, they said a final opinion would be given after the chemical analysis report is received from Lahore Laboratory. The report will show the test results of various samples taken from the infant’s body.
The Mansoorabad police have registered a case against ‘unknown persons’ under Section 338-C of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
SHO Ghafoor said the case was registered after the death of the baby. “We cannot proceed in a case where any newborn still shows symptoms of life and is found but unclaimed. We acted immediately after the hospital administration informed us about her death,” he said.
Earlier, a controversy arose regarding the jurisdiction of the police stations, as the crime occurred between Chak Jhumra and Mansoorabad police stations. Ultimately, on the basis of the boundaries of both stations, the case was found within the area of Mansoorabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2013.
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