As a probe began on Sunday into the death of nine infants in the Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of VSS Medical College and Hospital at Burla, resentment was writ large on the faces of the aggrieved parents.

Nine newborn babies had died due to unknown reasons between Friday and Saturday at the SNCU of the VSS hospital, prompting Odisha government to order an investigation into the shocking incident.

The three-member inquiry team, headed by S.M. Bag, the Director, Medical Education and Training met the doctors, nurses and attendants of the SNCU to record their statement.

Palpable tension prevailed in the hospital premises where police personnel had been deployed in view of protests and demonstrations held by relatives of the deceased babies as well as activists and political parties. They alleged that the deaths occurred due to negligence by hospital.

“We will not conduct a unilateral inquiry. We have already recorded the statement of the attendants, nurses and doctors. We will also meet the people and aggrieved parents. Even equipment of SNCU are also being checked,” Mr. Bag said.

“We are yet to complete the inquiry. Facts will come to light after probe is completed. It will be premature to draw any conclusion now. We will submit the report to the government within three days,” he added.

Denying negligence by the hospital, Superintendent of VSS medical college and hospital, Dr L.K. Dash said “It cannot be considered as one incident. The new born babies were admitted to SNCU at different times and died because of different medical reasons. However, the committee is inquiring into the matter. We will try to replenish the deficiencies, which will be found by the inquiry committee.”

Congress opposes

The Congress party opposed the inquiry committee appointed by Odisha government and demanded a judicial probe into the matter. The party workers also burnt the effigies of chief minister and health minister demanding judicial inquiry.

The SNCU was established in the hospital in 2008. The unit has 39 beds for the newborn babies.