At 25 years of age, Ruby lives with her infant son Deepanshu; her husband, Mahesh; and her in-laws in Machhraita, a non-TSU focus block located in Sitapur District, Uttar Pradesh.
Ruby was married to Mahesh at the age of 17, but even after 8 years of marriage, she was not able to conceive. Mahesh does not earn much, but given his yearning for a child he took Ruby to a known and popular private missionary hospital in a non-TSU block in Sitapur District. The treatment and medicines were expensive but soon, Ruby was able to conceive. On the day of delivery, Ruby was having some complaints of itching and therefore Mahesh took her to the missionary hospital. After taking the medicine and returning to their home, Ruby started feeling pain and began to bleed. Mahesh rushed back to the missionary hospital with her. The hospital staff told him that they needed to do a surgery and he had to pay Rs. 40,000 for it. Mahesh could not afford to pay such a large amount. It was then when Ruby told Mahesh that she need to urinate. Mahesh decided to take her to a roadside garden by thelagadi- a three-wheeler cycle used in villages used to transport materials and food.
At this time, a TSU District Community Specialist (DCS), Block Community Specialist (BCS), and two Community Resource Persons (CRPs) were driving through Machhraita after completing a field visit to Khairabad; one of the TSU’s focus blocks in Sitapur District. While travelling, the driver informed the team that he had seen a man taking his wife- who was pregnant and bleeding heavily- to a roadside garden in a thelagadi. The team requested that the driver stop the vehicle, and subsequently rushed towards the garden, where they found Ruby - who was bleeding heavily- with Mahesh.
Sparing no time, the TSU team insisted that Mahesh rush Ruby to the Community Health Centre (CHC) in Khairabad so that she could receive care. Feeling hopeless, Mahesh explained that he was worried about the expenses that a trip to hospital would incur. The TSU team continued to insist that Mahesh accompany his wife to the CHC, explaining that Ruby’s condition was serious.
Upon arriving at the CHC in Khairabad block, the attending AYUSH doctor was hesitant to provide care to Ruby, and suggested that the TSU team take her back home. The TSU team was not at all ready to give up. They called the district Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and sought his support. The CMO asked the TSU team to take Ruby immediately to the District Women’s Hospital of Sitapur, and subsequently called the hospital to instruct the staff to support the TSU team. Ruby was immediately provided with the available treatment and her situation became a little stable but it could not be handled entirely there. Unfortunately, Ruby required more specialised care.
It was then that the TSU team called an ambulance and asked Mahesh to accompany Ruby to Lucknow. They also called up the doctors at Queen Mary Hospital, Lucknow and informed them about the patient’s plight. Ruby’s parents and in-laws were also informed by the TSU team. When Mahesh and Ruby arrived at Queen Mary Hospital in Lucknow, the doctors requested him to donate blood for Ruby. Although he was nervous, the TSU team was able to reassure him of the safety of the procedure. Ruby survived and gave birth to a son, Deepanshu.
In reflecting on this experience, one of the CRPs from the TSU Team reports: “…it is only with the government set up that if a person is having only Rs.10 in his pocket, the hospital would admit the patient, treat him/her and would take the responsibility. Ruby’s case proved it.” She continued, “It was a mixed feeling of happiness, achievement and pride that [the TSU team] was able to [help Ruby]. And the reason why we could do this is because we are working in a government set up”, she added further.