Chief minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said his government has taken a serious note of the reported deaths at Srinagar's only children hospital GB Pant and ordered a review of its functioning.
"The state cabinet has taken (a) serious note of the situation in the GB Pant hospital. The director of the medical institute (Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences) has been asked to review functioning," said Abdullah immediately after the cabinet meeting was over at Kashmir's summer capital.
The chief minister said the medical institute director, Dr Shoukat Zargar, will report to the Cabinet in a week. The government intervention has come after the hospital registered 32 deaths of infants, up to the age of one, in the past 14 days. According to hospital sources, 75% deaths were neonates, babies less than four weeks old.
"Among encephalitis patients, normal mortality rate is 98%, but we need better coordination among the hospital superintendent, deputy superintendent and unit heads," said state health minister RS Chib.
"It needs to be kept in mind that the hospital is bearing the brunt of not only nursing homes but also of Lal Ded Hospital and all the district hospitals," he added.
The hospital, which is housed at a very congested location near the Kashmir biggest cantonment area Badamibagh, is three kilo metres away from Kashmir's biggest maternity hospital Lal Ded, which has no neonatal department.
Besides the unfavourable location, the hospital's infrastructure paints a grim picture. It has only five ventilators when patients' number a day crosses 100 most days.
So three patients receiving treatment from one ventilator is a common sight, said hospital sources. The hospital, which is under the joint control of Government Medical College and the Army Cantonment Board, has reported 358 deaths since January this year. Around 1.1 lakh patients were treated in its OPD this year.
"We will increase number of ventilators and exclusively put an ambulance for ferrying infants from Lal Ded to GB Pant," said Chib.
The government is now planning to increase the number of staff nurses for better medical care.
68 deaths in January
66 deaths in February
105 deaths in March
85 deaths in April
34 deaths up to May 12