Maharashtra: 24 patients, including 12 infants die at govt hospital in 24 hours
Twenty-four patients, including 12 infants, died at a government hospital in Maharashtra’s Nanded district in a span of 24 hours
Mumbai: Twenty-four patients, including 12 infants, died at a government hospital in Maharashtra’s Nanded district in a span of 24 hours, prompting the state government to set up a committee to probe the matter, as officials of the medical health facility complained of inadequate resources and shortage of staff.
The deaths also triggered a political row as the Congress targetted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and questioned his “silence” on the matter.
The incident comes six weeks after 18 people died in a span of 24 hours at a government hospital in Thane.
As per an official statement issued by Nanded district collectorate, the deaths were reported at Dr Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College hospital between September 30 and October 1.
“In 24 hours, 24 deaths have been reported at Nanded government Hospital and Medical College (GMCH). Out of these 24 patients, 12 were infants who were referred here by some local private hospitals,” Dr Dilip Mhaisekar, director, medical education and research, Maharashtra, was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The hospital’s acting dean, Dr S R Wakode, said the condition of 12 patients were serious when they were brought to the facility. “They belonged to remote areas of the district and arrived here in a serious condition after falling victim to snakebite and other such cases,” he said.
“The 12 infants who died were born in the last 24 to 48 hours, and some of them were underweight,” he added.
State medical education minister Hasan Mushrif said a panel has been formed to probe the deaths.
“I have asked the commissioner of medical education to leave immediately for Nanded. I am also going there tomorrow. Only after we reach there and review the incident will the cause of the deaths be clear,” he told reporters.
Santosh Pandagale, a member of the governing council of the medical college and hospital, said the facility faces various problems like lack of staff, equipment issues and shortage of medicine.
“This hospital has a capacity of 500 beds but has 1,200 patients,” he said. “Many machines like the CT scanner are not working because there are no funds for the annual maintenance contracts. Several nurses and doctors have been transferred from here but those posts are still vacant. There is a shortage of medicines too. We have raised these issues with the authorities several times in the past but to no avail,” he added.
The Congress hit out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre over the deaths.
“The BJP government spends thousands of crores of rupees on its publicity, but there is no money for medicines for children? In the eyes of the BJP, the lives of the poor have no value,” former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi posted on X, formerly Twitter.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh asked Modi to break his “silence” on the incident.
Former chief minister and Congress MLA Ashok Chavan visited the hospital to review the situation.
“This is extremely unfortunate. Government medical colleges are in a serious crisis. Inadequate staff and shortage of medicines are responsible for the deaths,” he said.
“Some patients have been referred to private hospitals (from the government hospital),” he added, indicating that the number of deaths may rise.