A doctor and a nurse from a private hospital in Amravati were arrested on Tuesday following the death of four newborns in the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) of the hospital in the early hours of Monday. Bhushan Katta, an MBBS doctor, and nurse Vidya Thorat from Dr Punjabrao Deshmukh Medical College and Hospital run by Shivaji Education Society, were arrested following government’s directive to the civil surgeon (CS) of Amravati to register a complaint with the police for alleged negligence leading to the death of four newborns aged between four and six days in quick succession.
The deaths occurred after 2 am on Monday. The parents had alleged their newborns had burn marks on their body. According to a preliminary investigation done by a panel led by CS Arun Raut, the doctor and the nurse displayed negligence in not attending to the newborns, who developed sudden complications after 2 am. While a detailed investigation will be subsequently carried out by the Directorate of Medical Research and Education, Amravati Collector Ahijit Banger had directed the civil surgeon to carry out preliminary investigation. Due to public outrage over the incident, the state government issued special instructions to the civil surgeon on Tuesday to register a complaint against the hospital authorities.
Dilip Jane, the hospital Dean, told The Indian Express, “Our internal inquiry has shown that the first child clearly died of septicemia and the other three died due to administration of wrong injection by the nurse. She injected them with potassium chloride injection instead of the prescribed calcium gluconate. The doctor, though a resident one, wasn’t present at that time.”
Asked about the allegation of burn marks, Jane said, “They were not burn marks. The marks appear on the body when there is internal bleeding and sudden drop in platelet count.”
“I was told by Collector to carry out a preliminary probe. We found that the doctor wasn’t available at the hospital’s NICU as is mandatory for any eventuality. The first child was declared by the hospital authorities to have died of septicemia. The doctor said he had called out his seniors when the child developed complications around 2 am. They then said three more newborns developed sudden complications in quick succession and died. Out initial assessment was that the doctor and the nurse had shown negligence in the case and hence we registered a complaint with police as directed by the government,” Raut told The Indian Express.
Post-mortem was conducted on the four newborns at the government’s Irwin Hospital on Tuesday. PI Kalidas Pundkar of Gadge Nagar police station said, “We haven’t yet received the post-mortem report.”