Ashok Gehlot has already ordered a probe in the matter (Photo Credit: PTI File)
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot caused controversy with an insensitive statement over deaths of several newborns at a governement hospital in Kota. According to reports, 12 infants have died in this government hospital this week with 10 deaths taking place within 48 hours. Gehlot has already ordered a probe in the matter on Friday but while talking to media on Saturday, he termed the deaths as 'unfortunate' but ended up saying that there was 'nothing new'.
According to ANI, when asked about the deaths, Gehlot said that action will taken if required. However, he added that this year has seen the least number of such deaths in the last 6 years. Gehlot said that 900 such deaths have taken place this year which was lower than 1300-1500 deaths in previous years.
"Even a single child's death is unfortunate. But there have been 1300 to 1500 deaths in a year in past, this year figure is 900. There are daily few deaths in every hospital in state and country, there is nothing new. Action is being taken in the matter," he said.
The hospital had also claimed there was nothing unusual about the deaths.
Gehlot, on Friday, had said that a team has been sent to Kota to look into the deaths at JK Lon Hospital. Gehlot has given instructions to Health Secretary Vaibhav Galeria to visit Kota and submit a detailed report on an urgent basis.
Galriya reached on Friday afternoon and after initial enquiries, formed a three-member panel to investigate the spate of deaths and directed it to submit a report within 48 hours, promising "action" against the erring doctors after its receipt. The probe would cover all issues, including the cause of death, and determine the negligence, if any, of the medical officials and behind the deaths.
According to reports, 12 infants have died in this government hospital this week, two of them on Friday, prompting Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla to urge Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to act "sensitively" on the issue.
According to a report by the superintendent of J K Lon Hospital, where all the deaths occurred, 77 children died this month itself till December 24, while a total of 940 infants died this year. Officials said two infants died on Friday itself.
The reports of spate of infants' death in a government hospital in his constituency prompted Lok Sabha speaker to take to Twitter to express his concern and urge the state chief minister to act "sensitively" on the issue.
"The untimely death of ten infants in 48 hours in J K Lon Mother and Child Hospital in my Lok Sabha constituency is a matter of grave concern. The Rajasthan government ought to act sensitively and promptly on the matter," Birla said on his Twitter handle at 4.59 pm.
The hospital, meanwhile, in its initial report on the death of 10 kids between December 23 and 24, claimed that five newborns, who died on the two days, were just a day old, and had been brought to the hospital in critical conditions.
"They were suffering from Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, due to which an infant's brain fails to receive adequate oxygen and leads to septicemia. They had taken their last breath within few hours of their admission," the report said.
The report added that a five-month-old baby died due to severe pneumonia on December 23 while a seven-year-old child died of acute respiratory distress syndrome.
"The third victim, a 45-day-old baby died of complex cyanotic congenital heart disease," it said.
"Besides, a two-month-old kid succumbed to severe pneumonia and another one-and-a-half-year-old baby died of seizure disorder with aspiration on December 24," it said.
Refuting the allegations of negligence behind death of kids, hospital superintendent H L Meena said the deaths were normal and none of them died because of negligence by the hospital.
Terming the deaths of ten kids within 48 hours "not an unusual trend", the head of hospital's Pediatrics Department, Dr Amrit Lal Bairwa said at least one to three children die daily at the hospital as it a referral hospital where kids are brought in severe and critical conditions from adjoining Bundi, Baran, Jhalawar districts and from various cities in Madhya Pradesh.
According to the national Neonatal Intensive Care Unit records, 20 per cent deaths of infants are acceptable, whereas the death percent in Kota is 10-15 per cent which is not at all alarming as most of the infants were rushed to the hospital in severe critical conditions, Dr Bairwa added, defending the hospital.
Kota District Collector Om Kasera too defended the hospital and told media that the initial investigation revealed that the ten kids, who died early this week were brought to the hospital in critical conditions after having been referred from other hospitals in nearby districts.
(With PTI and ANI Inputs)