More Indian child deaths in hospital investigated

Reuters
Indian police are investigating whether 30 infants died for lack of oxygen, the second case in a month in which medical supply shortages have been blamed for deaths of children.
Reuters

Indian police are investigating whether 30 infants died for lack of oxygen in a northern state-run hospital, the second case within a month in which medical supply shortages have been blamed for the deaths of dozens of children.

An underfunded, poorly managed public health system is in the spotlight after more than 60 children died between July 21 and August 20 in a public hospital in northern Uttar Pradesh, amid accusations that oxygen supplies ran out because of unpaid bills.

Police launched an investigation on Sunday in the latest case after a government report blamed the chief medical officer and doctors at another institution in the northern state, Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, for the deaths of 30 children.

The infants died of “perinatal asphyxia” at the newborn care unit of the hospital in the state’s Farrukhabad district, police said. “The probe officer was told by mothers that the hospital did not insert oxygen pipes (into infants’ windpipes) after birth, and proper medication was also not given,” police said in the complaint, quoting the government report.

The investigation suggested that 30 of a total of 49 children died of perinatal asphyxia, police added in the complaint.

This condition is caused by a reduced level of oxygen in infants just before, during or after delivery, depriving them of the ability to breathe freely.

A district magistrate on Wednesday ordered the inquiry into the deaths of the infants, after media reports linked some deaths to oxygen shortages.



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