7 More Babies Die, Toll Crosses 365

7 More Babies Die, Toll Crosses 365

19 May 2012
Greater Kashmir
Manzoor-ul-Hassan

Srinagar: Even after the state government took some ‘fire-fighting’ measures to bring some semblance of normalcy in the functioning of ‘dreaded’ GB Pant Hospital here, seven more infants died in the hospital on Saturday allegedly due to the negligence of doctors and lack of facilities there. While four infants died in the hospital during the intervening night 18-19 May, three more succumbed this afternoon, taking the death toll at valley’s only pediatric hospital to more than 365 this year, hospital sources told Greater Kashmir. Early this morning, the attendants and relatives of patients staged massive protests outside the hospital and blocked the Jammu-Srinagar highway near Batwara by placing the bodies of the infants on the road. The traffic police had to divert all the vehicles, coming in or leaving the city via Bypass. The protestors were raising slogan ‘Private Practice Bandh Karo,’ (stop private practice of doctors). “The infants admitted in the NICU wards died today due to lack of proper treatment and negligence of doctors,” the attendants alleged. They said there were no doctors in ICU during night hours. “Only nursing staff was present in the wards who couldn’t handle the critical condition of the babies that led to their death,” the attendants said. Haleema, mother of one of the infant from Budgam said her baby died after a nurse came and gave her an injection. “My baby was all right and was undergoing a routine checkup. A nurse came and injected some medicine into him, soon after this his body turned pale and he died early in the morning,” said Haleema, mother of Faizan, while holding her dead baby into her lap. She was a part of the demonstration that blocked the highway for hours. “This hospital is more like a slaughter house and children don’t get proper care here. When just two nurses are taking care of more than 20 babies in the ICU, the deaths are bound to happen,” said an angry attendant, Shahzada, accompanying her nephew to the hospital. “I witnessed more than 12 deaths during within two days, it’s really heart wrenching and shocking for me to see the little babies silently going in the claw of death,” she added. Another attendant, Maqsood Ahmad said his 6 month old daughter has been admitted in the hospital for nearly a month. “She was getting treatment from the junior doctors who couldn’t diagnose her properly even after a month,” he said. “Their diagnosis fluctuates after every week; first they told me she is suffering from asthma, now they are telling me she is suffering from acute pneumonia. When I asked them about this change, they told me that the test couldn’t be done as this is not a private hospital where you get facility of every test,” he lamented. Soon after the deaths, the attendants and relatives of patients staged protest outside the hospital premises and blocked the Jammu-Srinagar highway by placing the bodies of the infants on the road. The traffic police diverted all vehicles, coming in or leaving the city via bypass. The deaths took place two days after the government ordered an inquiry into the high number of infant deaths at the hospital. Medical superintendent Javaid Chowdhary was transferred and attached to medical education department after preliminary inquiry pointed out lack of efficient management. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who visited the hospital yesterday, said although the situation at the hospital was grave, “steps for improving the situation have been put in place and a difference will be visible within one week.”