Rajasthan infant death redux: Nine newborns die at Kota govt hospital

Jaipur: A year after the death of over 100 infants at a Kota government hospital became a huge embarrassment for the Congress government, nine newborn babies expired in the hospital on Thursday within a span of eight hours.

The dance of death began at 3 am on Thursday when the first newborn passed away at the JK Lon hospital attached to the Kota Medical College. By 10.30 am, eight other infants were dead, leaving authorities in a tizzy.

All the infants were between one and seven days old. While seven were from Kota, 270 km from the state capital, Jaipur, two had been brought from neighbouring Bundi district.

Kota collector Ujjwal Rathore rushed to the hospital on information of the deaths. He ordered an additional five doctors and 10 nursing staff be put on duty in the paediatric ward.

Kota South MLA Sandeep Verma of the BJP visited the hospital and sough information from the authorities and families about the deaths. He said families alleged negligence on part of doctors. The shortage of doctors is a continuing problem that has not been addressed.

“There is carelessness on part of the government. Last year, they had announced that we will provide equipment and fill vacant posts of doctors. Initially, the government did provide doctors but they were later transferred, he said.

Sharma said currently there are 240 kids admitted in the Paediatric ward. “Ideally there should be three professors and four assistant professors for 130 kids but there is only one professor and one assistant professor,” he said.

As the issue flared up, the government and administration stepped into damage control mode. The hospital administration formed an investigation committee which will submit its report in 24 hours.

Health minister Raghu Sharma issued orders to the local administration to carry out a primary investigation and submit a report immediately. He also sought a report from the Kota Medical College principal.

Sharma said no carelessness in the care and treatment of the children would be tolerated and warned of strict action.

In his report to the government, hospital superintendent Dr SC Dulara said the prima facie the deaths occurred because the newborns had potentially fatal medical conditions.

He said three of the infants were brain dead when they were brought to the hospital born and their families were immediately informed of this.

Last December, the Congress government had come under fire after 107 infants had died in a span of 35 days at the hospital. It led to a public outcry against the crumbling health infrastructure in the state.

Sharma had promised more funds for equipment and infrastructure at the hospital but little has been done since then. Several children had died last year due to the cold weather and shortage of incubators and warmers which still continues.In one year, the government has been unable to address the issue of shortage of staff and lack of infrastructure and equipment.

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