10 infants dead in 48 hours in Andhra Hospital

India | Uma Sudhir | Updated: September 03, 2011 07:54 IST

10 infants dead in 48 hours at Andhra hospital
KURNOOL, ANDHRA PRADESH:  10 babies have died within 48 hours inside the neonatal intensive care unit of Kurnool's General Hospital. Kurnool is about 212 kilometres from the state capital Hyderabad. The deaths occurred on Wednesday and Thursday. The reason: the hospital was simply not equipped to deal with the rush of low-birthweight babies who needed critical care. There were 20 beds whereas the demand was for over 30. Only two ventilators were functioning. Two more have been under repair.

Some parents of the children have alleged that the hospital gave over the care of the infants to them, which led to the tragedy. Gangamma Grand, mother of the infants who died, said: "The doctors gave us the hand pump for oxygen. They said put the oxygen pump on the child. We did not know how long to do it."
The hospital authorities on the other hand, insist that they were not negligent. They said the deaths occurred due to complications that usually arise in premature babies. Government officials added that they did not have the facilities to cater to so many children. According to Ramshankar Naik, Collector, Kurnool: "This is the first hospital in the Rayalaseema region, so we get patients from some four to five districts, whereas the hospital has only 20 beds. We cannot turn away the patients though we do not have enough infrastructure to cater to them. We are bringing it to the notice of the government to increase the facilities here. As for this incident, we have ordered an inquiry."

But whatever the collector and the hospital authorities might say in their defense, the government is not buying it. D L Ravindra Reddy, the Health Minister of Andhra Pradesh said: The collector in his report also said those in supervisory role at the hospital were practising privately in family-owned hospitals.'' This the minister said, led to negligence of duty for which suitable action would be taken. 

Story First Published: September 03, 2011 07:37 IST