Eleven inmates, including at least seven children, of a government-run mental health and rehabilitation institute on the outskirts of the state capital have died of septicimea and food poisoning while the condition of three others — admitted to the JK Lon government children’s hospital — has worsened over the last 12 days.
The issue came to light with the death of two children on Thursday. “Fifteen children, were admitted to the hospital on April 21. Seven of them have passed away while three others are critical. Four have been discharged,” JK Lon Hospital superintendent Dr Ashok Gupta told The Indian Express.
The children were aged between 6 to 15 years, Dr Gupta said. “They suffered from some bacterial disease caused due to ingesting impure water or food. When they were brought in, they exhibited septic shock and septicimea. One of them showed symptoms of cholera,” he added.
Besides the 15 children, at least four adults were admitted to the Sawai Man Singh Government Hospital nearby. Earlier, as many as 10 other inmates of the institute at Jamdoli were also admitted to the two hospitals.
“The condition of the inmates suddenly deteriorated. So we got them admitted on April 16. Two days later, one of the children died. Since then, the deaths have continued,” superintendent of the facility Anita Chaudhary said. “We don’t know what happened to them,” she said.
Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Arun Chaturvedi had earlier reportedly blamed the children’s poor immunity as a reason behind the deaths. Chaturvedi visited the children at the hospital on Friday.
“Prima facie, it seems to be some sort of infection that spread, since the deaths occurred on different dates. We have set up a two member probe committee to find out what went wrong. Action will be taken against anyone who is found responsible,” Chaturvedi told the media.
State Congress president Sachin Pilot, who visited the hospital as well, accused the state government of callousness. “The chief minister should take active interest in the probe. The incident and the government’s reaction reflects callousness. If their immunity was weak, they should have been provided even better care. This is criminal neglect that resulted in the death of these children. Whoever is responsible should be booked for causing death by negligence,” Pilot told The Indian Express.
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