Some Babies Made to Sleep on Floor, Say Assam Hospital Staff as 15 Newborns Die in 6 Days
A hospital attendant, on condition of anonymity, said that some babies were made to sleep on the floor due to which they caught cold. Mosquito nets were also not provided to the infants, he said.
File photo of Jorhat Medical College and Hospital
Jorhat/Guwahati: At least 15 newborns have died at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH) in upper Assam between November 1 and 6, prompting the state health department to rush a team to investigate the matter.
While the hospital administration has attributed the deaths to "overburdened" Special Care Newborn Unit, an attendant, on condition of anonymity, said that some babies were made to sleep on the floor due to which they caught cold. Mosquito nets were also not provided to the infants, he said.
A source further told CNN-News18 that out of eight ventilators in the unit, only three were functional. One of the pediatricians of the hospital confessed that the unit had admitted 84 infants against the capacity of 41.
Hospital superintendent Saurabh Borkakoti has ordered an inquiry into the matter and asked to submit a report within seven days. The administration has instituted a six-member team that will visit Jorhat on Sunday.
According to Borkakoti, 15 newborns have died at the special care newborn unit of the hospital between November 1 and 6. Borkakoti, however, claimed the deaths were not due to medical negligence or neglect of the hospital.
"Sometimes the number of patients coming to the hospital may be large and so the figure of death of newborns may also be large. It depends in what situation the patients have come to the hospital. They may have come with prolonged labour, with low birth weight. In such circumstances, those newborns may die," Borkakoti said.
He said ever since the civil hospital was converted into a full-fledged medical college and hospital, the number of patients have soared, exceeding the available 141 bed SNCU capacity. This has forced the hospital to sometimes accommodate more babies, he said. The hospital has formed a six-member committee to probe the deaths, Borkakoti said.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters that a team of experts, including the director of medical education assisted by UNICEF and a paediatric doctor from Gauhati Medical College and Hospital along with another doctor of Assam Medical College and Hospital, Dibrugarh have proceeded to Jorhat to investigate the deaths.
(With inputs from PTI)
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