23 children die at Odisha hospital in 4 days; rights panel seeks report

Twenty-three children, including newborns, have died in the last four days at a state-run hospital in Cuttack following which Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has sought a report from hospital authorities

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on Monday directed the state health department to submit an inquiry report into the death of 23 infants in four days in a hospital in Cuttack.

Taking suo motu cognizance of alarming reports in the media, the commission directed the health secretary, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) director, and the superintendent of the Sardar Vallabbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics in Cuttack to submit a report within three weeks.

As many as 23 infants have died in the health institution -- popularly known as Sishu Bhawan -- in the last four days. Five infants died on Monday alone, hospital sources said.

Niranjan Monahty, superintendent of Sardar Ballav Bhai Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics also known as 'Shishu Bhawan', said 23 deaths of newborns and other children were reported since Friday and five of them were recorded during 24 hours ending Monday afternoon.

The hospital authorities had ordered an internal enquiry, the report of which has been submitted to the government, Mohanty said.

The state government has also asked the health secretary to submit a report.

Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said the department has asked for a detailed report from the officials concerned and the department would take appropriate action based on the report.

The Cuttack district authorities also conducted an administrative enquiry into the allegations of parents over "misbehaviour" by the doctors and nurses of the hospital, officials said.

Parents of the infants who died on Monday attributed the deaths 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. But the doctor kept us waiting and we were told there was no bed available in the ICU. The nurses also did not pay heed when we sought their attention. I lost my son due to their negligence," said a bereft mother who lost her baby on Monday.

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