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Rights teams visit RIMS to probe into children’s death

Teams find children struggling for space on beds in an overcrowded paediatrics ward, lack of medical kits, safety covers for mothers and inadequate use of medical equipment

ranchi Updated: Sep 01, 2017 13:17 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Members of State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and Child welfare committee inspecting pediatric ward at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS)
Members of State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and Child welfare committee inspecting pediatric ward at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) (Parwaz Khan/HT Photo)

A day after news of death of over 210 children at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in two months, a team of State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) and Child Welfare Committee (CWC) on Thursday visited the paediatrics and neonatology wards of the hospital to probe into the deaths.

During the visit, the team found children, from newborns to 14-year-old, struggling for space on beds in an overcrowded paediatrics ward, lack of medical kits, safety covers for mothers and inadequate use of medical equipment.

“I am not satisfied with the facilities being provided to the children at RIMS,” said SCPCR chairperson Aarti Kujur.

The RIMS administration at a press conference on Wednesday had claimed that they saved 543 newborns and children out of 646 admitted in the hospital in August, however, 103 could not be saved. Similarly, 698 infants and children had been admitted in the hospital in July and of them, 588 were treated, however, 110 died.

Over 800 children died in Jharkhand’s two premier hospitals—RIMS and Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College and Hospital (MGMMCH). At RIMS, 660 children died since January this year while 164 died at MGMMCH in last four months.

The RIMS administration, however, termed the treatment of children as an achievement for the tertiary care hospital. It claimed that the success rate was more than 84% in last two months. The RIMS authority said nearly 5,000 children had been admitted to the hospital between January and August and more than 4,000 of them saved.

Despite tall claims of RIMS, the medical superintendent, Dr SK Choudhary, was removed from his post with immediate effect on Wednesday evening. He was blamed for not co-operating with an audit team in July.

After the inspection, SCPCR chairperson told HT, “We found 128 children were admitted in paediatrics ward against its capacity of 100 beds. Three babies were being treated on one bed and two babies in infant warmers. Ironically, infected babies were kept with non-infected infants.”

She said the newborns were not provided medical kits that also included clothes for them. “The families members were using their own clothes to cover the babies that increased the risk of infection,” she said.

Of the four infant warmers, only one was in use where two babies were kept, she said. “We found children were underweight, premature and critical. Special care was needed for mother and child in such cases that was missing. There was no safety cover like masks and other gears for the mothers,” she added.

CWC member Meera Mishra said, “Patients complained that they were asked to purchase medicines from outside. If there was sudden requirement of blood to a baby, the parents were asked to buy it from outside as there was shortage of blood in the hospital.” She added that the government must look into the affairs and provide medicines and blood free to poor patients.

Head of paediatrics and neonatology Dr AK Choudhary admitted the patients’ pressure but denied there was any lack of infant warmers or other equipment in the hospital. “Two babies were kept in one warmer because they were twin,” he said, adding there is special care new born unit with 24 beds. At least 13 beds were currently occupied in the unit, he said.

Detailing the facilities at paediatrics and neonatology wards, a hospital staff said there were 10 ventilators of which four were in use on Thursday. He said there were four infant warmers and three more would be brought soon. Detailing other facilities, he said 10 infusion pumps, four CPAP machines, eight phototherapy machines and two open care units with 16 bed each having all kinds of facilities right from oxygen to warmers were available.