21 infants dead in 4 days, Odisha rights panel seeks report

Bhubaneswar, Aug 24 (IANS) The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on Monday directed the state health department to submit an inquiry report into the death of 21 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 21 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.

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.

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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