Rajasthan: Death of 86 newborn, actions against 15, including 11 doctors
The state health department on Monday suspended three doctors, put five on awaited posting order (APO) and asked for disciplinary action against three after the death of 86 infants at the Banswara district hospital in last two months.
In addition, four nurses have also been suspended and another four given showcause notices.
At least 37 of the 86 infant deaths at the district hospital in Banswara were due to the alleged carelessness of the doctors, following which health minister Kali Charan Saraf had constituted a four-member committee, headed by Dr SM Mittal.
After Dr Mittal submitted his report, Saraf consulted the district collector and on Monday three doctors – principal medical officer (PMO) VK Jain, PC Yadav and Jitendra Banjara — were suspended. Five other doctors – Manisha Choudhary, Divya Pathak, OP Upadhyay, Jaishree Jain and Shalini Nanawati — have been out on APO, and three other doctors — Pushpa Kumari, Pritesh Jain and MK Jain — has been issued showcause notices.
In addition, four nurses have been suspended and showcause notices have been issued to Sunderi Vaishnav, Indra Maida, Sunni MT and Sukli Garasiya, said the minister.
“Alternate arrangements have been made after the suspensions. Dr MP Sharma has been deployed as PMO. Dr OP Kuldeep, Dr Dipti Chitra (gynecologist) and Dr Amit Srivastav (pediatrics) from Chittorgarh, Dr Banwari Lal from Dungarpur and Dr Satnarayan Sharma from Salumber have also been deputed to Banswara. Additional nursing staff — Jaya Ahiri, Kirti Pathan, Dipti Singh and Kamla Damore — has also been deployed,” said Saraf.
A senior official said that in the report the team of doctors had found gross irregularities, especially in the delivery room. There was lack of supervision by doctors. There was also a shortage of staff and even doctors.
Maximum infant deaths at the hospital were due to birth asphyxia, a medical condition resulting from deprivation of oxygen to a newborn during the birth process.
“During field visit, irregularities were found on the part of health workers. Pregnant women were neither given supplementary nutrition nor counseled. There were also no health check-ups of the pregnant women,” said Saraf.
On Sunday, the health department had sent a team of doctors to Banswara from Udaipur medical college, which comprised six senior doctors — three gynecologists and three pediatricians. Saraf has also directed all doctors to lay special focus on newborns. “There are many health schemes running for newborn and pregnant women by the state and central government. It should be ensured that all schemes are executed effectively,” he said.
The issue came to light when the Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO), Banswara, Dr HL Tabiyar noticed that the district hospital has recorded deaths of 86 neonates (newborns who are less than 4 weeks old) in July and August, following which he conducted a probe.
“Of the 86 deaths, 37 were due to birth asphyxia. Those 37 newborns could have been saved. We will find out the doctors responsible for this and initiate action against them,” Tabiyar had told HT.
Low birth weight had claimed 18 newborns, congenital disease eight while the remaining died after contracting infection and due to other reasons.
The neonatal mortality rate (NMR) — death within 28 days of birth — in Rajasthan was 30 per 1000 live births in 2015, as per the Sample Registration System (SRS).
Tabiyar had also said that there was a severe shortage of doctors in the district. “Against the sanctioned post of 72 medical officers at the district hospital, 32 are vacant. Also, of the sanctioned post of 68 specialists, 80% posts are vacant,” he said.
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