30 infants die in 14 days at GB Pant hospital
Government Calls For Report
Srinagar, May 14: Perturbed over the reports of alarming increase in infant deaths at GB Pant hospital here, the government seems to have woken up to the crisis and has sought a detailed report on the “present situation” in the hospital.
For the past fourteen days more than 30 infants in the age group of 0-1 year have died at the hospital while authorities continue to be in a denial mood on the rising graph of the fatalities.
“It (deaths) is a very critical issue. I can speak on the issue only tomorrow after I get the report,” Minister for Medical Education, RS Chib told Greater Kashmir.
Chib said he has sought a detailed report about the “present situation” at the hospital from Principal Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar.
An official said though the neonatal deaths is a “common phenomenon”, lack of facilities and the dual control of the GB Pant hospital involving state government and the Cantonment Board adds to the mess there.
“From May 1 till date at least 32 deaths have taken place at the hospital. Of them 70 to 80 percent were neonates in the age group of zero and one,” the official at the institute said.
“Unless there is intervention at the highest level to overhaul the system the present gloomy condition will continue.” While sources did not negate “lack of collective responsibility” on part of the hospital administration to improve the child care at the institute, the lack of infrastructure in terms of critical equipments, manpower and huge influx of the patients growing beyond the capacity of the institute is seen as a major reason for the crisis like situation.
The institute has only five ventilators to cater to the rush of infant patients. Two to three babies receiving treatment on a single ventilator is a common sight there while equal number of babies are often put into “warmers” for treatment. The crowded wards with three to four babies occupying a bed is a common sight.
The official said the institute not only receives baby patients from hospitals here like LD maternity institute, SK Institute of Medical Sciences, and rural areas and peripheries, the private nursing homes also refer the new born babies here in case of emergencies, “washing their hands of the responsibilities”.
“The institute is being treated as a dumping ground,” the official said.
The Medical Superintendent at the institute, Dr Javid Choudhary, however played down the situation. “We have all the facilities available here that ought to be at the tertiary care institute,” he said.
Asked about the deaths, the MS said “no death took place at the institute (during past 15 days.)”
However, only on Saturday last the situation had run out of control there after an infant undergoing treatment died there allegedly due to the neglect by the doctors and non-availability of the ventilator. Dr Choudhary had to himself rush to the hospital late evening to pacify the family of the infant and the angry attendants there.
On Monday last many attendants told Greater Kashmir that six children died in a day. And two days prior to the incident Greater Kashmir received a complaint from a Bangalore based businessman, Managing Director MSZIN Technologies Inc., saying that “in ward No. 4, 20 children died in 24 hours at GB Pant hospital.”
The high rate of deaths at the hospital is not something new. In March this year four infants died in 24 hours at the institute due to alleged non-availability of facilities and negligence by the doctors.
There is no explanation from the hospital administration about the rising number of deaths. In fact they term it as “normal.”
“There is no denying the fact that the hospital has to cater to a huge rush of ailing children, many of them newborn, on routine basis. While the hospital’s bed capacity was downsized from 175 beds to 135 beds after it was shifted to the present location at Sonwar in 2005, the occupancy on any given day is above 350.
Thereafter the institute lost its identity as special children hospital and was downsized to a general hospital, resulting in shortage of doctors and paramedic staff and hence worsening the problem.
Blaming the government for the “mess” at the institute another senior official said there is a dire need of re-thinking at the level of the policy makers to make the institute full-fledged children hospital.
“It is already overburdened. Government needs to set up a separate children hospital with facilities for all pediatric health problems otherwise the specialty may be lost in oblivion and there will be no end to the present problems,” the official said. “Due to the mismanagement resulting from joint venture (between state and Army) there is no fixation of responsibilities at the higher level which is aggravating the situation.”
In nut-shell the institute is a tale of problems at present, the official said sarcastically. “There is no scope for enhancing and expanding the service at the institute as it is a part of multi-disciplinary hospital, no land is available at the present location for expansion and support services required for pediatric sub-specialties not possible to come up there, pediatric problems are multiple and related to various systems as such sub-specialty beds are required to cater to that need.”
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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