Eight infants died at the newly-established Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College in Barpeta, about 140 km from the state capital, on Wednesday and Thursday.
Five infants died in the hospital within four hours on Wednesday evening, while three died on Thursday evening. The authorities have said the deaths were because of the “critical nature of the cases”.
Three of the infants who died on Wednesday weighed less than normal at the time of birth, with one weighing only a kg.
While the first baby, a male, died at 7.20 pm on Wednesday, another male died at 8.05 pm, third (a male) at 9.15 pm and the fourth and fifth, a male and a female, died at 11 pm the same day.
Of the five babies who died on Wednesday, four were born in the same hospital. One was born outside and was admitted to the hospital in a serious condition on Monday. While the youngest one to die on Wenesday was about 22 hours old, the oldest was 72 hours old.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said various factors led to the death of the infants on Wednesday, despite the best efforts of doctors. “It was the critical nature of the cases like age of mother, weight of baby etc, that led to the deaths. Two mothers are below 20 years old,” Sarma said. “The doctors have specifically told me that these babies could not be saved despite the best possible care and effort,” he added.
The minister also dismissed reports that largescale resignation of doctors and other faculty members of the Medical College in the past few months was one of the reasons behind the deaths. He said no doctor from the paediatrics department had quit.
“Every month Barpeta Medical College Hospital records an average of 60 infant deaths, so the daily infant death average is two. On Wednesday however, five deaths was more than the average,” Sarma said.
Dilip Kumar Dutta, Principal of the medical college, said all the five babies who died on Wednesday were undergoing treatment in the Sick Neonatal Care Unit (SNCU) for various problems such as low birth weight and severe birth asphyxia.
“The weight of one baby (born to Jaigan Begum of Hipasachar, Tarabari) was just about 1 kg. Only one was 3.4 kg at birth, the rest were between 2 kg and 2.6 kg,” Dutta said.
He also said that late arrival of cases for delivery, lack of proper prenatal care and lack of care of the pregnant women at home were other reasons that led to the serious condition of the babies.
An official report prepared by the paediatrics department of the medical college gave details of all the five deaths on Wednesday. According to the report, the first death occurred because of low birth weight, the second from severe birth asphyxia and shock. The third baby also died of severe birth asphyxia, early onset sepsis and shock, the fourth from severe birth asphyxia and meconium aspiration, and the fifth due to low birth weight, severe birth asphyxia and meconium aspiration.
By: Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Source: The Indian Express