An FIR was registered against two senior medical officers and other doctors in Farukkhabad on Monday after the district adminstration prima facie concluded that 30 children died in a government hospital due to lack of sufficient oxygen supply over the span of a month.
The Chief Medical Officer of Farukkhabad, Chief Medical Superintendent of the Ram Manohar Lohia district hospital, and other doctors were booked under Sections 304 (causing death by negligence), 176 and 188 of the Indian Penal Code. The case was registered at the Kotwali police station in Farukkhabad on the complaint of Jainendra Kumar Jain, city magistrate, Farukkhabad.
Parents of newborn children who died in the hospital had alleged that the deaths took place due to lack of oxygen supply. Following this, on district magistrate Ravindra Kumar constituted a probe team headed by the CMS and CMO to report within three days on the exact cause of death of 49 new-born children in the month of August.
However, the DM was not convinced by the findings of the probe and ordered a separate probe by the city magistrate, sub-divisional magistrate and a tehsildar.
The DM said the medical officers neglected the instructions and provided “confusing and incomplete” details of the deaths of children in the hospital. The CMS and CMO could also be sacked.
In its probe, the district adminstration found that from July 21 to August 20, 30 children “appeared to have” died in the Sick Newborn Care Unit ward of the hospital due to “perinatal asphyxia.”
In his complaint to the police, Mr. Jain said: “Mothers and relatives of the dead newborns told investigators via telephone that doctors did not put the oxygen tube on time and did not provide medicine, which makes it clear that most of the children died due to lack of sufficient oxygen supply.”
Mr. Jain further implicated the CMS and CMO for neglecting directions and not providing adequate information into the deaths of children in the SNCU ward over the last six months as instructed by the DM.
Taking “a serious view of the incident,” the State government has ordered the transfer of the CMS, CMO and DM, a government spokesperson said. Administrative action could also follow.
Barely able to recover from the episode of deaths of children in the BRD hospital in Gorakhpur allegedly due to disruption of oxygen supply, the Yogi Adityanath-led government has not dismissed any possibility yet.
Director General Medical Health K.K.Gupta said there could be various reasons for perinatal asphyxia. “Mainly, it could also be due to obstruction of placental blood flow. The exact cause will be clear after a technical probe,” he was quoted as saying in a government statement.
A high-level team at the government level will be sent to the hospital for a “factual and technical” scrutiny into the deaths of the children.
According to the government spokesperson, 461 women were admitted to the district women hospital between July 20 and August 21. These women gave birth to 468 children. Among these, 19 were still-born. Out of the remaining 449 infants, 66 critical infants were admitted to the new-born care unit out of which 60 infants recovered while six expired.
In addition, 145 infants were admitted to the hospital after being referred by other hospitals and nursing homes. Out of 145, 121 regained health. Between July 21 and August 30, 49 new born children died, including 19 still-born.
CMS Akhilesh Agarwal denied the allegations saying “propaganda” was being spread that the children died due to negligence or lack of oxygen supply. He asserted that the children died due to natural causes during and post child-birth.
“There was no lack of oxygen supply or medicine. Every child was taken care of and served with dedication,” Mr. Agarwal told The Hindu .