JAIPUR: With the deaths of as many as 77 children in Kota’s government-run JK Lon Hospital this month creating a furore, the Gehlot government on Friday sent a team of experts to assess the situation and contain its fallout.
Shockingly, 10 of the 77 deaths happened in the space of two days earlier this week, igniting public outrage.
“We have formed a committee of experts from Jaipur’s SMS hospital. It will identify the lacuna, if any, and suggest steps to improve the conditions. It will examine all angles — from equipment to clinics to hygiene and nursing,” said medical education secretary Vaibhav Galeria.
An internal committee formed by the JK Lon Hospital earlier described the neonatal death rate as ‘not unusual’ and ruled out negligence. According to the hospital officials, the 10 children — five boys and five girls aged between one day and one year — were admitted in a critical condition and were on ventilator support. All of them died within a few hours of their admission.
The deaths embarrassed the Gehlot government as it had recently launched the ‘Nirogi Rajasthan’ scheme on the eve of its first anniversary, to provide better medical facilities to the people. The chief minister was attacked on social media, with the #gehlotsharmkaro hashtag trending on Twitter on Friday.
An internal report said the infants were suffering from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a condition in which the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen and septicemia.
Hospital superintendent Dr H L Meena said none of the 10 deaths in the past 48 hours were caused by negligence.
“Infants and kids are mostly referred herein terminal condition from private and government health centres due to which, on an average, one to three infants die every day. So, the death of 10 infants in two days is high, but not unusual,” he said.
HoD, paediatrics, A L Bairwa said according to NICU records, 20% infant deaths are acceptable while 10-15% deaths have been reported in Kota, which is not at all alarming.