GB Pant Hospital deaths spark new concerns

4 Babies Die As Oxygen Supply Goes Off; Govt Ignores Request For Backup Support Citing Lack Of Funds As Reason


Srinagar, June 4: Four babies have died within 24 hours in the GB Pant Children Hospital here reportedly due to breakdown of critical oxygen supply.
Sources told Greater Kashmir that the oxygen supply to Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) and different theaters of the hospital was snapped in the intervening night of June 2 and 3. “Four deaths took place in the Neonatology ward during the time when oxygen plant developed some snag,” said an official.
Though hospital officials claimed that the snag was rectified within two hours with the help of engineers from Mechanical Engineering Department, but the breakdown and resultant risk to the infant patients has raised serious concerns in the lone pediatric specialty hospital of Kashmir.
Sources said the oxygen plant was over-loaded with huge burden of around 200 oxygen points and 14 ventilators on it in different wards of the hospital. “The concentrator has a capacity of 446 liters per minute (LPM) but it is forced to supply around 1000 LPM to run the emergency services smoothly. This affects the machine,” sources added.
As per the officials of Mechanical Engineering Department, the plant is at a risk of breakdown anytime that may lead to more infant casualties.
“Though the hospital has an automatic changeover system connected to bulk cylinders, but there is an urgent need for a strong backup support with capacity more than 1000 LPM,” an official said.
Ironically, the problem has already reached the Civil Secretariat last year but the government had reportedly ignored the request of GMC officials, citing lack of funds as reason.
“The proposal has already been sent to the government in June last year following the public uproar against infant deaths at the children hospital,” sources said.
When contacted, Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr Muneer A Masoodi, claimed the oxygen supply was never snapped in the hospital. “There was technical snag in the oxygen concentrator but the bulk supply was running uninterrupted till the plant was restored,” he claimed.
Dr Masoodi denied that the infant deaths took place due to oxygen breakdown.
“The four deaths include of children with Perinatal Asphyxia with Meningitis, very low birth weight with respiratory distress, congenital heart disease and Encephalopathy with sepsis,” he said.
“Around 40 babies were on oxygen supply when oxygen concentrator developed the snag. Had there been no oxygen supply, there would have been these many deaths,” Dr Masoodi said.
However, he acknowledged that the oxygen plant is over-burdened. “We have already requested the government to provide additional oxygen support to the hospital.”

Lastupdate on : Tue, 4 Jun 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 4 Jun 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 5 Jun 2013 00:00:00 IST

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