The quintuplets — five children — born to a couple in Bihar after infertility treatment have died within a week, succumbing to perils of premature birth.
For Nilu Devi and her husband, Jitendra Sharma, a farm labourer, the joy of the birth of their five daughters on April 27 — after six years of marriage — turned to grief within 24 hours spanning May 1 and 2.
Devi, 29, and Sharma, 31, from Bhadan village in Gaya district, 95 km south of Patna, watched on helplessly as two of their children died last Tuesday and three the next day at the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH).
All five children were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of PMCH on April 29 after they were referred from the Pilgrim Sadar Hospital, Gaya.
The children had been born prematurely at a private nursing home in the district.
Dr Sanjata Roy Chaudhary, head of the department of paediatrics, PMCH, on Sunday said, “The babies were grossly underweight. They were too tiny to survive. Against an ideal baby weight of 2.5 kg, these babies weighed just 600-700 gm.”
A doctor who attended on the neonates said, “The babies were born premature to the mother in the 28th week (of pregnancy). Premature babies are most susceptible to infections, which can be fatal.”
At the NICU, the babies had to jostle for space. Against medical norms, two-three babies were put on a single bed.
Dr Chaudhary said, “Putting more than one infant on a single bed in NICU increases the risk of cross-infection. But state government policy is such that we cannot refuse any patient.”