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Odisha: 13 children admitted to Keonjhar hospital die in 19 days

Incident has raised concern about quality of medical service available in the area
Representational image.
Representational image.
File photo

Subhashish Mohanty   |   Bhubaneswar   |   Published 20.09.22, 02:36 AM

As many as 13 children admitted to the Keonjhar district headquarters hospital have died during the last 19 days, raising concern about the quality of the medical service available in the area.

Most of the relatives of those who had lost their children alleged that lack of medical attention and doctors’ absence had led to the children’s deaths.

Out of the 13 deaths, four were reported during the past 48 hours. As the issue raised an alarm about the efficacy of the medical system, the Odisha government on Monday sent a high-level medical team to probe into this issue.

“We are not denying the death reports. We have sent a team to ascertain the reason behind the death. We are waiting for the inquiry report,” health minister Naba Kishore Das told The Telegraph on Monday.

Additional district medical officer (ADMO), Keonjhar, Kishore Prusty said: “A total of 122 children have been admitted to the hospital in September and among them, 13 have died.”

Priyanka Muduli, a relative of a deceased child, said: “Our child was admitted Saturday late evening. We asked for immediate doctor’s assistance. But there was no doctor in the hospital at night. We were not allowed to enter the hall where our child was admitted. But the doctor came around 12 noon on Sunday and informed us that the child passed away. They killed our child. We are crestfallen and helpless.”

Mithun Nayak, a relative of another deceased child accused that his younger brother’s child passed away due to medical negligence. “My younger brother’s son was admitted to the hospital. He died due to negligence by the doctor and nurses. The child was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. However, he died as he was not given proper oxygen supply on time. As per the norms, there should be doctors and nurses to attend emergency services. But during the admission of our child, no one was present. Many children are dying in the hospital due to negligence by the medical authorities.”

A local journalist of a vernacular newspaper, Debasis Mishra said: “Those who died were all newborn babies and between three to 14 days. Some of them passed away due to lack of availability of oxygen and lack of right medical intervention at the right moment.”

Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Keonjhar Sujata Rani Mishra denied the report of medical negligence.

“There has been no death during the last 24 hours. Each newborn baby who died had a different medical cause,” CDMO told this newspaper.

Apprehending the law-and-order problem, the district administration has deployed a police unit on the campus.

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