The spate of infant deaths at a premier government hospital for children continues in Odisha with the death toll reaching 45 in last nine days.
Three infants died on Saturday morning at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics, a specialised medical college and hospital for children in Cuttack city, popularly known as Sishu Bhawan.
Seven infants had died on Friday leading to protests by irate parents and tension in the hospital premises.
The parents of the deceased infants allege negligence by the hospital staff.
member of the investigating team looking into the causes of the deaths pointed
out that the infants who died during the past week were brought in extreme
critical conditions. Most of them were suffering from septicemia with
meningitis, birth asphyxia, viral encephalitis and acute bronchial pneumonia.
A seven-member central team with three experts headed by additional secretary of the Union Health Ministry Arun Panda reached at the hospital this morning to find out the cause of sudden rise in infant deaths. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is also accompanying the team.
The intervention of the Central government came after Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan requested Union Health Minister J P Nada to look into the matter.
Meanwhile, the Orissa High Court admitted a PIL on Friday and issued notice to the Superintendent of the Sishu Bhawan and Odisha government. The Superintendent has been asked to depose before the court on September 4.
Amid the allegations of negligence in treatment, the hospital authorities blame poor infrastructure and acute shortage of staff for this sudden rise in infant deaths. The Sishu Bhawan has sanctioned strength of 48 doctors but more than half of the posts are lying vacant since last few years. Many posts of paramedics and staff nurses also remain to be filled.
About 300 children, including critical cases, are admitted to Sishu Bhawan everyday.
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