High Court warns Andhra, Telangana over infant deaths
HYDERABAD: Expressing concern at the deaths of infants taking place in various hospitals in AP and Telangana, a division bench of the High Court on Tuesday directed the relevant authorities of the central, AP and Telangana governments to inform it of the steps taken to prevent such incidents. While terming the situation as disastrous, the bench warned both State governments that it would not tolerate if such incidents continue. Even in poor countries such a high number of infant deaths were not taking place. The governments should treat it as an emergency, it said.
The bench, comprising chief justice TBN Radhakrishnan and justice V Ramasubramanian, was dealing with a suo motu PIL based on a news report published in Express on August 29 this year regarding piling up of dead bodies of stillborn babies in the mortuary of the government general hospital at Kakinada in AP.
It was reported in Express that the bodies of 80 stillborns had been rotting at the hospital’s morgue for over a month. On an average, 20 to 25 infant deaths take place in a week at the said hospital. The court felt that the number of infant deaths appear to be more than high in the absence of gross congenital anomalies and were capable of survival, if well managed. Further, it felt the need to look into modality of dealing with bodies of infants and also dead born cases.
Pursuant to the court’s direction, the third additional district judge of East Godavari inquired into the matter and submitted a report to the chief justice, stating that the bodies of babies were not subjected to post-mortem as they had been left behind by parents.
The bench felt the need to look into the possibility of pre-natal and post-partum challenges to fetus. It also felt relevant to conduct post-mortem of all unclaimed bodies of infants. The bench asked the counsels for the two states as to why infant deaths were taking place in such large numbers if there was neonatal facility at Kakinada government general hospital. The bench directed the Centre and both the State governments to inform it about the steps taken to prevent such deaths and adjourned the hearing by a week.