Days after the death of 11 infants at the Anantapur Government Hospital, the Andhra Pradesh Government Friday ordered an inquiry. The deaths which took place in a span of 12 days sounded off alarms forcing the government to initiate an action. State Health Minister A Krishna Srinivas is set to visit the hospital Saturday to meet with doctors and officials.
“Anantapur Government hospital is a tertiary hospital and it also has a special Newborn Care Unit (NCU) to which all critical cases from across the district are referred. Some of the most critical cases are referred to this hospital. Apart from this, private nursing homes also refer to pregnancy cases with life-threatening defects here. At the NCU we create an atmosphere like a womb for sick babies but some survive while others don’t. Although, we have 20 beds in the unit, at any given time we have 25-30 babies in extremely critical condition,” Medical Superintendent Dr K Jagganadh said.
It is to be noted that in March 2019, 175 babies were admitted in critical condition of which 30 died, while 34 of 217 died in April, in the month of may the numbers went up to 36 of 264 admitted. “The government wants to know if the deaths can be prevented by providing better nutrition to pregnant women. We also want to find out if PHCs are equipped to handle emergencies,” an official in the Health Department said.
Doctors said that out of the four babies who died on June 9-10, three were referred to from other hospitals while one was born at the hospital.
“The first baby who died was admitted on June 5 after a private hospital referred her. She had developed septicaemia caused due to cesarean surgery. The second baby was a twin who was just 1.3 kgs. The other twin has developed jaundice and is receiving treatment at the private hospital where the twins were born. Doctors performed a cesarean there as the mother suffered pregnancy-induced hypertension. The third baby who died weighed just 800 gms which is the extremely low birth weight which normally should be around 2.5 kgs. The fourth baby was born at a PHC in Kalyandurg with the umbilical cord stuck around its neck. The Area Hospital there stabilised her and referred here where she died the next day. These four deaths within two days caused some alarm among parents whose kids are undergoing treatment but according to us there is no cause for worry,” a doctor said.
At the Anantapur Government Hospital, 28 to 30 babies are born daily. “Babies are referred here if they have extremely low birth weight, mother had gross anaemia, hypertension or hyperthyroid and therefore the baby is born sick, or prematurely. Chances of survival are very low in such cases,” Dr Jagganadh added.