Assam: 16 Infants Die In Last 10 Days In Govt Hospital, Probe Ordered
The Superintendent Of Jorhat Medical College and Hospital reportedly said that the deaths were not due to medical negligence but other reasons like prolonged labour and low birth weight.
Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH) at Assam has recorded the death of at least 16 newborns within the first week of November. The State Health Department had rushed to investigate the issue with a committee on Friday, November 9.
Death not due to medical negligence
Saurav Borkakoti, the superintendent of JMCH, confirmed the death of infants and told the media that it was not because of any sort of medical negligence. He added that increase in the number of patients would also reflect the increase in the number of infant deaths. There are other reasons including prolonged labour, low birth weight after delivery and more, reported The Hindu.
However, after the medical college and hospital collaborated, the patients exceeded the capacity of the Special Care Newborn Unit (SCNU). Borkakoti informed media that they were forced to accommodate many infants even though the capacity restricted to 141 beds. The hospital has allotted a committee with six members to investigate the reason behind the deaths.
Meanwhile, Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Assam Health Minister, informed media that a team of doctors and experts including the medical education director assisted by the UNICEF would further investigate the case.
Deaths were a cause of “late reporting”
Reportedly, Debajit Hazarika, principal of JMCH, told that a committee under the head paediatrician Pranabjit Biswanath had submitted a report to the government. Hazarika ensured that the deaths were the cause of “late reporting” to the hospital and the mothers have not taken prenatal check-ups in JMCH or at any Public Health Centers (PHCs) in the district.
He added that PHCs refer JMCH in case of critical condition and hence JMCH have to admit the expecting mothers in their SCNU. He also stated that their doctors and supporting staffs took immense care in providing treatment to all 84 mothers admitted in the week. He pointed to another reason that they treat approximately 69 babies a day even though the capacity was just 40.
The parents of the deceased infant were reluctant to speak, and one father suggested that senior doctors must visit the hospital often at least to attend critical cases.
Dr Ramadevi K, gynaecologist says, “It is not due to negligence, but lack of adequate facilities is the reason. Referral from the peripheral hospital in outskirts would have been delayed. Improving health sectors is the only solution and just probing the issue will not help.”
JMCH had already been in the news last year when a baby girl allegedly got switched. The incident was in the spotlight only after the forensics department declared that her DNA didn’t match with that of her parents. To make matters worse, the baby girl died.
The Logical Indian Take
The Government has concentrated more on healthcare of pregnant ladies and newborns and has improved in recent times. Despite all positive changes, Assam has topped the list for high Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). According to a Niti Ayog report, the IMR in Assam is 44, which means that 44 infants out of every thousand live births do not live to celebrate their first birthday.
The government has spent several crores to improvise the health sectors in Assam, but still, we hear such incidents. The Logical Indian community urges the authorities to look into the matter and take measures to prevent such a scenario in the future.