| The neo-natal intensive care unit at Patna Medical College and Hospital. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
After a wait of five years after wedding, Neelu Devi’s dream of becoming a mother had come true six days ago. And her joy knew no bound as she gave birth to quintuplets.
Her happiness, however, was too short lived as the five babies — all girls — succumbed to post-natal complications one by one, with two of the infants breathing their last at Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) on Thursday.
A resident of Gaya, Neelu had given birth to the babies at a private hospital in her hometown on April 27. They were brought to PMCH two days later after paediatrician Dr Rishikesh, who was treating the infants, referred them to the health hub in the state capital.
Senior doctors at the PMCH, however, said as it happens in cases of multiple births, the babies were grossly underweight and were suffering from various complications.
“The babies were born pre-maturely, only after a gestation period of less than 28 weeks. None of them weighed even a kilogram. The babies were undergoing treatment in the neo-natal intensive care unit of the hospital. Is very advanced and well-equipped unit. However, the babies could not survive,” Dr Sanjata Roy Chaudhary, the head of the department, paediatrics, PMCH told The Telegraph.
While one of the babies died on the morning of May 1, two of them succumbed to their illness the following day. The remaining two infants died at the hospital today even as the doctors claimed that they had tried everything to save the lives of the two infants.
The father of the infants, however, alleged negligence on the part of the doctors and supporting staff in the hospital resulted in the babies’ death.
“The doctors could have saved my babies had they tried. But I do not think they did so. This morning, when the babies started turning cold, I frantically started looking for a senior doctor to attend to them. But there was only a nurse available to treat them. No wonder that they died a few minutes later,” said a distraught Jitendra Sharma, a carpenter by profession.
Dr Rishikesh, who had treated the children in Gaya, said while chances of survival of the babies were bleak, four of them had been stable when they were discharged from his nursing home.
“At the time of discharge from my hospital, one of the babies was very critical. But the rest were stable. We had hoped that with advance equipment and senior doctors at PMCH, at least some of them would survive. But it is unfortunate that none of them could,” he said.
Twenty- four-year-old Neelu, who had undergone treatment for infertility at various hospitals in Patna and Delhi, conceived the five babies through in-vitro fertilisation. She had given birth to the quintuplets in a span of one hour through normal delivery. The Sharmas took away the infants’ bodies from the hospital on Thursday after doctors declared them dead.