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Farrukhabad infant deaths: Parents recount horror, say babies died for want of oxygen

An official report into the deaths of 49 children at Farrukhabad’s Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in the span of a month has stated perinatal asphyxia, a condition in which oxygen does not reach the brain, to be the reason.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2017 19:47 IST
Haidar Naqvi
Haidar Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Farukhabad
Farrukhabad infant deaths,Oxygen,Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital
Children in the Farrukhabad hospital on Monday where 49 children have died in the past one month. (PTI Photo)

Khalid Ali, a daily wager, is furious with the doctors of Farrukhabad’s Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital (RML Hospital) where his daughter died last month.

Ali and his wife, Gulafshan, insisted their baby died for the want of oxygen and the hospital staff and doctors were to blame.

HT spoke to six more couples whose babies died at the hospital’s sick newborn care unit (SNCU) between July 21 and August 20 and they shared the same rage and levelled the same allegations.

Recalling his tragedy, Ali said Gulafshan was taken to the hospital with labour pain around 3am on August 12.

“You know what the doctors and staff at RML Hospital told us? Kya yahan marne aayi hai (Have you come here to die)?” said Ali, adding that he was told to take her to Kanpur or Saifai.

“They did not admit her. I had to rush her to a private hospital, where my baby was born.” Ali said the doctors at the private hospital said his baby needed oxygen and advised him to admit her to RML Hospital’s SNCU.

Ali said he again rushed to RML Hospital, despite having been turned away earlier, and his newborn was admitted to the SNCU and put on oxygen for two hours.

“They showed me my child after taking her off the oxygen. She was moving her hands and legs. I was relieved that she was fine,” he said.

“But the hospital staff did not put her on oxygen again and she died within hours. I asked them many times to put her on oxygen again but no one listened to me. This is the worst hospital in terms of healthcare. The staff and doctors are extremely negligent,” Ali added.

An official report into the deaths of 49 children at the hospital in the span of a month has stated perinatal asphyxia, a condition in which oxygen does not reach the brain, to be the reason.

Virendra Kushwaha of Pattiya in Farrukhabad district lost his firstborn, a boy, within hours of birth. “My wife, Shanti, was called in to feed him at 8 pm. The hospital staff gave me his body at 11 pm,” he said.

“They didn’t give me any reason and just asked me to leave,” he added.

Hospital records state the baby died of severe birth asphyxia and was born outside the hospital. Kushwaha, however, maintains his wife delivered the baby at RML Hospital. He claimed the hospital did not give him any document to certify the birth.

He said his baby was given oxygen for an hour before it was taken off. “Dekh bhaal to bilkul bhi nahin ki gayi (proper care was not taken).”

Akhilesh Kumar of Mahmatpur Amraiya in the district too lost his son at the hospital in August.

He said doctors told him the baby, born at a private hospital, needed oxygen. “But I did not see anyone putting my son on oxygen.”

Akhilesh’s mother Jai Devi said, “I gave Rs 500 to a nurse to let me have access to the room where they had kept my grandson. He was fine when I went there. Akhilesh was asked to bring some medicines from outside. I don’t know if they gave any medication to the child. In the morning, they told us that the baby was dead and gave us the body.”

Akhilesh said the hospital employees were negligent and arrogant. “A doctor examined my child just once and did not say a word.”

Sobran Singh, a farmer from Lokathpur in the district, said lack of oxygen led to his son’s death.

“The day my child was admitted to the hospital, the nurses demanded Rs 500 for giving access to him. I had Rs 300 and gave it to them,” said Singh.

“Later, I asked the staff why they were not giving oxygen to my child and they replied he was fine. I went to the room and found my son was motionless. After some time, they told me the baby was dead and asked me to take the body,” he said.

Atma Prakash, a pharmacist from nearby Shamshabad, however, declined to blame RML Hospital and doctors for the death of his twins.

“My wife, Sarita, gave birth at the hospital on August 21. The babies were born three months premature. They died due to complications. Doctors did their best to save the babies,” he said.

First Published: Sep 05, 2017 19:02 IST