Following the death of 78 newborn babies at Thane’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), as reported by MiD DAY (‘78 newborns die at Thane civil hospital in 7 months’), doctors at the hospital gave us a detailed report clarifying the reasons behind these deaths. The report states that 588 babies were admitted in the SNCU (Special Newborn Care Unit) of NICU since January 2012 and out of these many critical cases only 78 babies could not be saved.
Doctors at the hospital have compiled a complete list of admissions in the SNCU and the deaths that occurred. Out of 588 babies, about 142 babies were admitted with a birth weight less than 1,500 gm, which is below the minimum weight of an ideal baby. Doctors said that in such cases, the chances of survival are very low. In several cases the babies respond well for upto 30 days but suddenly die after that period due to internal weakness and poor immunity which exposes them to infections.
Most cases of deaths have occurred in babies belonging to families from remote villages near regions like Wada, Dahanu and Shahpur, who failed to follow instructions given to them regarding the mother’s and child’s nutritional requirements. According to the doctors, several pregnant mother fail to consume appropriate medicines, though the government provides it to them free of cost.
These factors lead to premature delivery and delivery of babies with congenital anomalies. Villages near these regions have the facility of medical centres where pregnant women and their families are regularly counselled about the necessary care to be taken during pregnancy.
Dr UD Marulkar, head, pediatric department, Thane civil hospital, said, “We do our best to help save every child that gets admitted into the SNCU. When we admit cases that have a very low chance of survival, sometimes we are unable to save them. This results in figures that show a high rate of deaths in the SNCU. But we also have records of several cases that were very critical at the time of admission but have returned home healthy.”
Dr AB Nandapurkar, resident medical officer, Thane civil hospital, said, “Our hospital has experienced doctors, medical staff and the necessary medical equipment in the SNCU. Babies are admitted in the SNCU because they are already suffering from a critical medical problem.
We have the required number of warmers, incubators and other medical equipments necessary to handle the cases that arrive at our hospital.” The hospital has also been sanctioned funds for setting up a much larger unit of SNCU, which will enable them to provide better newborn care services.
Break up of the 588 admissions in the SNCU (January-July, 2012)
Inborn: 505 babies
Out born: 83 babies
Male: 309 babies
Female: 279 babies
Total: 588 babies
Discharged: 422 babies
Died: 78 babies
Remaining: 71 babies