Even as the number of crib-deaths reported from the State-run Dr. B.C. Roy Postgraduate Institute of Paediatric Science since Tuesday rose to 13 (with one baby dying on Thursday), the Health authorities said there were no instances of medical negligence.
Those who died were all very vulnerable and it would have been nearly impossible to save them. No negligence or any other reason was found that might have led to the deaths, said an official of the Health Department.
“In 48 hours [Tuesday and Wednesday] 12 children have died at the hospital, but to us, the authorities of the hospital, this is not an extraordinary occurrence. We have done a critical analysis of each case — many of these children were suffering from infections and there were a few cases of heart disease and pneumonia,” Superintendent of the hospital D.K. Pal said. “Nearly every day five or six children die at the hospital.”
The deaths occurred barely four months after 19 babies died at the same facility. Angry protests and demonstrations surfaced in June, amid allegations of negligence and misbehaviour by the hospital staff.
The hospital is 350-bed tertiary facility with referrals from the districts.
Soon after the June incident, several steps to upgrade infrastructure were announced, but few had been implemented. A 40-bed sick neonatal care unit was to be set up in a month's time. A CT scan machine was to be installed.
Dr. Pal said there was always scope for improvement of infrastructure. On an average about 300 children were admitted to the hospital and about 10 per cent of them were in a critical condition, he said.