Seven more patients, four of them children, died late last night at the government hospital in Maharashtra’s Nanded that made national headlines yesterday following 24 deaths in 24 hours. This takes the death count in the Shankarrao Chavan Government Hospital in the past 48 hours to 31. Among these 31 patients, 16 were infants or children.
The condition of as many as 71 patients at the hospital is still critical, it is learnt.
Dr Shyamrao Wakode, the dean of the hospital, has rejected allegations of medical negligence. He has also said that there was no shortage of medicines or doctors, and stressed that the patients did not respond to treatment despite being given proper care.
Maharashtra Medical Education Minister Hasan Mushrif is on his way to Nanded. Speaking to news agency ANI, he said, “I am on my way to Nanded. This should not have happened. There was no shortage of medicines or doctors. We will investigate every death, and anyone found negligent will be punished.”
A senior Maharashtra government official has said a committee has been formed to probe the deaths. “A three-member expert committee from Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar district has been formed with a mandate to submit a report. I am personally visiting the hospital to review the situation,” Dr Dilip Mhaisekar, Director, Medical Education and Research, told news agency PTI yesterday.
The deaths in the government hospital have triggered a sharp attack by the Opposition on the Eknath Shinde-led government in the state.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has sought a detailed probe, saying the incident was “extremely painful, serious and worrying”. Mr Kharge also referred to a similar incident at a government hospital in Thane in August, when 18 patients died within a short interval.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi targeted the BJP, part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra. “The BJP government spends thousands of crores on publicity, but there is no money to buy medicines of children?” he asked in a post on X.
Maharashtra Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has said the Eknath Shinde government should take up the matter and provide immediate help to the Nanded hospital.
Addressing the media yesterday, the hospital’s dean had said the 12 newborns who died in the hospital on September 30-October 1 were in the 0-3 days age group and had “very low weight”.
“There are 142 admissions in the paediatric department, of which 42 are still critical. Oxygen and ventilator facilities are there. The patients are from neighbouring districts, including Hingoli, Parbhani and Washim. Some are from villages in neighbouring Telangana,” he had said.
“Among the 12 adults who lost their lives, five were male and seven female. Four adults had heart-related ailments, one was suffering from an unknown poisoning, one had a liver issue, two were kidney patients, and one case was of complications during pregnancy. There were three accident cases,” the Nanded district administration said in a statement.