Six newborns die in Kolar and Davangere hospitals in single day, doctors deny negligence

On Tuesday, CM Siddaramaiah ordered the Health Department to submit a report on why 33 infants had died in 75 days in the Kolar hospital.
Six newborns die in Kolar and Davangere hospitals in single day, doctors deny negligence
Six newborns die in Kolar and Davangere hospitals in single day, doctors deny negligence
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Panic ensued in Kolar’s government-run Sri Narasimharaja Hospital on Tuesday, as three newborn babies died in just one day. On the same day, three more newborns died in the Davanagere Taluk Hospital.

While family members alleged negligence at both hospitals, doctors denied these claims.

A medical officer at the Davangere Hospital told TNM, “One mother gave birth to twins. The babies had died before the delivery itself. The other baby was underweight and we could not save it.”

However, the family members of Netravati, who bore the twins, alleged that the doctors at the hospital were claiming that the infants were stillborn in order to cover up their mistake.

“We admitted her to the hospital at 11am. The doctors told us that the caesarean procedure is the only way to save both the baby and the mother. Later, in the evening, the doctors said that it was a normal delivery but the babies died. A caesarean procedure was not performed,” said Netravati’s father, who did not want to be named.

“They did something wrong and are now saying the babies were already dead. If they had told us that they were not going to perform the caesarean, we would have taken her to another hospital,” he alleged.

The relatives of the third infant that died said that they were completely in the dark, as the doctors had not told them why the baby had died.

At the Kolar hospital, paediatric surgeon Dr Shivakumar, denied allegations of negligence and said the hospital could not be blamed for the deaths

“It was not negligence on behalf of the hospital. On Tuesday, one child, which was just 1.2 kg, died after it was born severely underweight. This child was one among triplets. Another child had a congenital anomaly and there was no brain development. One underweight child was referred from (a hospital in) Chintamani and was also 1.2 kg. Death is common among children whose weight is between 1-1.5 kg,” Shivakumar said.

“Statistics state that in our hospital there are 8 deaths per 1000 live births. It is very less. It was not negligence, but the condition of the babies was such that there were slim chances of saving them,” the surgeon added.

He rejected the allegations made by family members and said that the hospital’s doctors work round the clock and have never neglected the patients.

“These allegations are false. There are always nurses and doctors present. We save so many lives here. Why is that not getting noticed? There were babies that weighed 800 gm and we saved these children and they are still alive. Why are people not talking about the lives we have saved? If you guys target doctors, they will quit.  Who will help these patients then?” Shivakumar questioned.

The District Health Officer, Vijaykumar, told TNM that there were 12 newborn deaths at the hospital in June, 13 in July and 8 in the first two weeks of August alone – a total of 33 infant deaths in 75 days. However, he refuted allegations of negligence and said that the doctors at the hospital are “highly trained”.

“We have sufficient staff, including four paediatricians, and there is no dearth of medicines and equipment. Children born with congenital anomalies and low birthweight run the risk of mortality. Without inquiry, these cannot be attributed to negligence,” Vijaykumar said.

The hospital had also won a UNICEF award recently for its “excellent service”.

Incidentally, Kolar’s Srinivasapura, where the Sri Narasimharaja Hospital is located, is the constituency of Karnataka Minister for Health, KR Ramesh.

As news of the deaths spread, Kolar Deputy Commissioner KV Trilok Chandra visited the hospital to take stock of the situation. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah ordered the Health Department to submit a detailed report regarding the 33 infant deaths. The department is expected to submit its report by Monday.

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