Eleven infants have died in two days at the Government General Hospital at Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh, allegedly due to a defective oxygen supply system.
Four infants died on Wednesday followed by seven on Thursday at the government-run hospital, around 180 km south of Hyderabad. They were all less than 5 days old, and brought to the hospital for critical paediatric cases for treatment.
Distraught parents said the infants died due to lack of oxygen supply through ventilators.
"A pipe that supplies oxygen to the neonatal ward was not working properly," said Sunita, a bereaved mother from Parumaddala village.
Sunita had taken her one-day-old baby girl to the hospital after she developed some complications."I did not know I would have to carry back her lifeless body from here. I could not even see her because the staff kept me away from the incubator."
The state government has ordered a probe into the deaths. State health minister DL Ravindra Reddy said a team of health officials had been sent to Kurnool to ascertain the facts and suggest immediate corrective measures.
An IAS officer who inspected the hospital on Friday reportedly found that two of the four ventilators were not working. He also found that only around five nurses were on duty as against the requirement of around 25.
"The government will take action against anyone found guilty," Reddy said.
While distraught parents blamed the deaths on clinical negligence, doctors said the deaths were "routine".
"It is neither an isolated case nor something new. Around 50 infants die in the hospital every month as they are brought here at a critical stage," said a doctor on condition of anonymity.