JEHANGIR ALI | 4 FEBRUARY, 2019
Inquiry Ordered After Kashmir Family Claims Newborn Burnt to Death' at Hospital
SRINAGAR: A newborn allegedly ‘burnt to death’, prompting an inquiry at Kashmir Valley’s only paediatric care hospital run by the state government which has often remained in news for wrong reasons.
The administration of GB Panth hospital in summer capital Srinagar today ordered the inquiry into allegations of a family that their newborn child, referred to the state run facility by a private hospital, had died due to “burn injuries”.
According to doctors at the hospital, the newborn, a female, was admitted to the NICU department on February 1 with “pneumothorax,” a condition where air gets collected in lung cavity, and “sepsis”.
“In the course of treatment, the patient developed shock in disseminated intravascular coagulation, a life consuming disease and died on February 3,” a doctor at the hospital, who is not authorised to speak with the media, said.
However, the family hailing from Kreeri area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Monday alleged that she had died due to burn injuries. Sources said doctors keep newborns on electric warmers, particularly during winters, which can be prone to developing faults.
“A five member committee headed by the medical superintendent has been formed to ascertain the exact cause of the baby’s death,” Dr Muzaffar Jan, deputy medical superintendent of GB Panth hospital, said.
He said the committee will submit its report within 48 hours.
The family’s claims that the newborn died of burn injuries has sparked an uproar in the Valley. Disturbing pictures of the deceased showing what appears to be blisters on her arm were shared widely on social media, including by the former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti who tweeted:
“No words are enough to condemn the criminal negligence at GB Panth hospital, where a new born baby was allegedly burnt to death . Hope an exemplary punishment is given to the culprits responsible for this horrific incident so that no other child meets this kind of fate.”
Sources said J&K’s health department has also taken cognisance of the incident and a separate inquiry may be ordered into the newborn’s death at GB Panth hospital.
In 2012, the hospital achieved a notorious fame after it was reported that 358 infants had died in a five-month period, prompting outrage against the hospital administration as well as the state government.
After an inquiry blamed shortage of manpower and infrastructure among other reasons for the spate of deaths, the state government introduced some reforms and procured modern gadgetry which brought down newborn deaths.
However, there have been allegations that the state of medical care remains shabby at the hospital which has been marred by mismanagement and nepotism.