Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Aug 24:
With five more deaths today, the infant death toll at the Odisha government-run Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics (SVPPGIP), better known as Sishu Bhavan, here in the last four days reached 22 today.
Four infants had died yesterday at what is billed as the biggest paediatrics hospital in the whole of in Eastern India even as a four-member expert team was conducting a probe into the death of so many infants in such a short span of time.
Parents of the infants who died today have attributed the death of their children to negligence by doctors, nurses and other hospital staff.
“We brought our son in a serious condition. He needed to be admitted to the ICU urgently. The doctor, however, kept us waiting. We were told there were no bed available in the ICU. The nurses were brusque with us every time we sought their attention or asked them for anything. They kept sending us to their recommended shop outside the hospital for the tests the next day. I lost my son due to their negligence,” said a mother who lost her baby today, crying inconsolably all the while.
Speaking about the facilities in the hospital, a parent claimed that there is a racket at work that forces the patients to get the tests done and medicines bought from shops outside the hospital rather than use the government’s facilities that come free.
“I have been here since last 25 days and have spent about Rs 40,000. The doctor says my son has some kind of infection, but they can’t tell me how long it will take for him to be alright again. I have to buy everything from outside. Forget free tests and medicine, they don’t even give us a free needle for injections. We don’t get anything from the government apart from the breakfast. May be I will have to sell my land if my son needs a longer stay here,” said a visibly distraught father.
Exasperated by the grossly apathetic attitude of the hospital staff, several parents have now shifted their children to private hospitals and nursing homes in the hope of better care and treatment. One such parent was Himanshu Mishra from Mahanga area, who left the Sishu Bhavan and admitted his son to a private hospital yesterday.
Odisha Government, on the other hand, is sitting idle after ordering a probe to the incident.
“Patients come here in very critical stages from all corners of the state. We are still trying to investigate the complaints to understand what exactly happened. CDMO will submit a ground report today. The health department will examine the report and based on the recommendation action will be taken,” said Odisha Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak.
What the CDMO has said, however, does not inspire much confidence in the fairness of the probe. He has already given a clean chit of short to the hospital staff even before the probe is complete and the report is submitted.
“So far as the serial deaths are concerned, we have already analyzed them. They were all very serious patients. Most of them were newborns. We have also done a comparative study that shows the same thing happens in other hospitals too,” said the CDMO.
“We have received the complaints, but I can tell you there has been no negligence in treatment as the babies had been in the ventilator since past four days. So far as other sides of the complaint go like the bad manners of the hospital staff, including the nurses, we are conducting an investigation. 12 nurses and five doctors have been interrogated individually and the truth will certainly come out. We are doing our best. The collector himself has been supervising the investigation and the report would be submitted to the government today,” he added.