Andhra's Anantapur government hospital under radar after 168 babies die in the last five months

From January to June 10 this year, a total of 994 infants were treated at the hospital for various ailments and, of them, 168 have died.

Published: 12th June 2019 08:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2019 11:15 AM   |  A+A-

Maternity ward in Anantapur government hospital.

Maternity ward in Anantapur government hospital. (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

ANANATAPUR: A series of deaths of newborn babies at the Anantapur Government General Hospital once again brings to light the disturbing state of affairs in government hospitals in the State. On Sunday last, two infants died while undergoing treatment, causing panic among mothers and prompting at least two couples to shift their infants to private hospitals.

The number of deaths of infants at the hospital in the past five months indicates the alarming situation. 
From January to June 10 this year, a total of 994 infants were treated at the hospital for various ailments and, of them, 168 have died. While doctors claim that the infants were brought to the hospital in a critical condition, parents allege medical negligence for death of newborns. 

On Sunday, two couples — Lakshmi Devi and Erri Swamy of Bukkarayasamudram and Geetamma and Gangaiah of Kalyandurg — got their preterm babies admitted to the Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of the hospital in the morning. 

Both of them, however, died by evening triggering protests by the parents. The couples also claimed that the SNCU lacked proper air-conditioning and other facilities and five other children met the same fate the same day while being treated.

“Both the preterm infants were out-born and they did not even cry at the time of birth. Their survival was slim when they were brought to the hospital. We tried our best and provided 24X7 medicare, but in vain,’’ Children’s Ward in-charge Dr Sridhar said dismissed the allegation of parents as baseless.

The hospital also lacks other facilities. Though a separate room has been constructed for mothers to breast-feed their infants, there is no proper ventilation or AC facility. “Mothers are forced to feed their children in the dark and hot room,’’ an attendant of a woman rued. The toilets in the unit are equally bad with no proper lighting and unhygienic conditions. However, GGH superintendent Dr K Jagannadh said that the SNCU got all the necessary facilities and infrastructure. “We will focus on improving medical services in this unit. We will identify the problem areas and hold monthly meetings to resolve all the issues,’’ he assured.

With two infants deaths kicking up a furore, Anantapur Urban MLA Anantha Venkat Ramreddy and district collector S Satyanarayana visited the hospital and inspected the facilities there.

They enquired into the reasons behind the death of 168 infants in the past five months and later reviewed the situation with the hospital superintendent. Dr Jagannadh explained to the MLA and the collector case by case details of the infants who died in the hospital and claimed that majority of such cases were initially treated at private hospitals. “Only after the condition deteriorates, the parents bring the infants here,’’ he said.

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