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Panel Probing Deaths of 111 Infants in 5 Months Gives Clean Chit to Gujarat Hospital

The three officials spent about four hours inspecting facilities at the G K Hospital and talking to doctors, patients and relatives of patients.

Meghdoot Sharon | CNN-News18

Updated:May 29, 2018, 6:58 PM IST
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Panel Probing Deaths of 111 Infants in 5 Months Gives Clean Chit to Gujarat Hospital
Image for representation. (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/herjua/ shutterstock.com)
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A three-member team of doctors specialising in neonatal intensive care and child birth has submitted its report to the state government over the deaths of 111 infants this year at the G K Hospital in Bhuj and has given a clean chit to the hospital.

After visiting the hospital and speaking to various people, including patients and their relatives, the investigating team has said that the treatment given to the newborn babies who have died were as per protocol and guidelines.

According to data provided by the G K General Hospital and the state government, there have been 111 deaths of infants at the hospital this calendar year. In 2017, 258 deaths of infants were reported while 184 deaths were deported the previous year in 2016. In 2015, 164 infant deaths were reported in the G K Hospital in Bhuj. Of the 111 deaths reported this year, as many as 26 infants have died at the hospital in May itself.

The three-member team of doctors who visited the G K Hospital on Saturday include Dr Himanshu Joshi, head of the paediatric department of the Gandhinagar Civil Hospital; Dr Bhadresh Vyas, head of the paediatric department of the Jamnagar Medical College and Civil Hospital; and Dr Kamal Goswami, head of the gynaecology department of the Rajkot Civil Hospital.

The three officials spent about four hours inspecting facilities at the G K Hospital and talking to doctors, patients and relatives of patients.

The panel observed in its report that a majority of the patients were admitted in the G K Hospital with fatal complications like neonatal sepsis, birth asphyxia and congenital malformations and that a significant number of these cases were referred to Gujarat Adani Institute of Medical Sciences (GAIMS) from other hospitals. The panel has however, recommended training for the hospital staff.

GAIMS Medical Director Dr Gyaneshwar Rao said, "We are satisfied that the panel report reiterated our stand. We will continue to work with the government to attract and retain qualified specialist doctors at this facility."

The team of doctors visited the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). They also visited the gynaecology department and inspected facilities and operation theatres.

However, Congress leaders of Kutch district, who also reached the hospital at the time of the inspection, alleged that this was nothing but an attempt to cover up the wrongdoings of the hospital. The Congress workers even created ruckus outside the hospital while the inspection team arrived and sought to know why a coordination committee headed by the district collector had not met even once to oversee operations of the hospital.

GPCC spokesperson Dr Manish Doshi alleged that it appears as if the state government is trying to cover-up the deaths of infants at G K Hospital. “The entire network of Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and Community Health Centres (CHCs) is in a shambles in Kutch and across the state. The deaths of infants in G K Hospital is a reflection of how vibrant the health scenario is in Gujarat. And it now appears as if the government is trying to brush the whole incident under the carpet. The Congress demands that the inspection report be made public and the report should address the main issue of how so many infants have dies at the hospital,” he told News18.

Speaking to News18, Dr Himanshu Joshi, head of the three-member committee, said the report has been submitted to the state government. “We have inspected various departments and have recorded the statements of doctors, other hospital staff, patients and relatives of patients. We cannot disclose details of the report. It is for the state government to make it public,” he added.

In 2009, the Gujarat government decided to rope in a corporate entity – The Adani Group – to manage the G K General Hospital at Bhuj. The hospital, badly damaged during the 2001 earthquake, was rebuilt at a cost of Rs 100 crore and it was decided that the medical college attached to it would also be run by the Adani group.

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