The death of a newborn baby at Lady Goschen Hospital early on Friday resulted in an angry demonstration by parents and their families who alleged negligence by hospital staff. The protest was joined by the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) that alleged numerous such deaths occurred because of the ill-conditions prevalent at the hospital.

During the protest, the parents alleged that the mortuary keepers informed them that their child was one of the six children who had been brought to them over the past week. “We perused the hospital records and found that 11 children died in January while a death has been registered in February already. This takes into account only children who died after birth and not stillborn children,” said Muneer Katipalla from DYFI. With most of the buildings having been demolished to construct a new block, the remaining buildings were filled over capacity, he said. “Mattresses are put on the floor and between beds. Moreover, the old buildings are dirty, and infection spreads quickly. No wonder the number of deaths here is higher than the national average,” he said. The hospital lacked infrastructure, even hot water for newborns was not available, he added. The protestors demanded that the government provide the hospital with enough facilities to ensure a reduction in infant mortality, and speedy construction of the new block.

Charges denied

Denying any negligence on the part of the staff, M. Shakuntala, Superintendent of Lady Goschen Hospital, said the death of the baby was not from infection, but instead could have occurred because of hypoglycaemia or other causes. She said the hospital had suitable infrastructure and even though a ward had been demolished, alternative arrangements were in place.

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