Three days after an infant died under mysterious circumstances in a government hospital in Champawat district’s Tanakpur town, the district magistrate has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the causes leading to the death.
In a letter to Champawat district magistrate Ahmad Iqbal, Irshad Ahmad (35) alleged that his child died after the hospital cut off oxygen supply to the baby.
“I have ordered a magisterial inquiry into the death as the infant’s family and the administration are stating different reasons for the death,” Iqbal said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Ahmad said, “My son was born premature at a private clinic in Tanakpur on September 21. He was unwell and I was told to take him to a hospital where he could be kept in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I was told that keeping him at the NICU in a private hospital would cost up to Rs 5,000 a day. I could not afford that, so I took him to the local government hospital and got him admitted on September 22.”
Ahmad, a tailor in Tanakpur, alleged that on September 25 evening, the electricity supply went out and oxygen supply to the infant was cut. “When I asked the hospital authorities to resume oxygen supply, they asked me to buy fuel for the generator. As I couldn’t arrange for fuel, my son died that day at 7pm,” he said.
Champawat chief medical officer (CMO) Madan Singh Bora refuted Ahmad’s allegations.
“We do not have an NICU in the Tanakpur government hospital. Our doctors had asked the father to take the baby to the Sushila Tiwari Hospital in Haldwani [in Nainital district] since it has an NICU. But the father disagreed and kept the baby in the Tanakpur hospital, ” he said.