Eight of 12 senior resident posts lie vacant, only three of 31 nurses are trained to handle newborns, poor parents are forced to buy disposables and consumables, and the most basic infection control norms like washing hands and use of disinfectants are not being followed. These are among the findings of a three-member technical team that was sent by the Centre to the Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College and Hospital in Gorakhpur for onsite assessment of the mortality situation at the tertiary care hospital following the uproar over the death of 71 children there between August 7 and 17. In its report submitted to the Union Health Ministry Thursday, the team, which visited the hospital on August 13, has called for a facility-based paediatric death audit.
The team found that because of vacancies, patients are left at the mercy of untrained doctors beyond office hours. Currently, the patients are managed beyond routine hours by junior residents who are themselves still students and learning to manage sick patients. The team found that out of 31 nurses working in the neonatal area (for babies aged up to 28 days), only three are trained in Facility Based Newborn Care (FNBC). It is because of these systemic deficiencies that the team found that the average death rate at the hospital is no different from the days when it was under scanner in the wake of reports of disruption of oxygen supply.
“The admissions and deaths between August 1 to August 6, 2017 and that between August 7 and August 12, 2017 were not different. As per data made available by the state, it was observed that there was no increase in number of deaths in the period 24 hours before (18) and 24 hours after (11), so also the number of deaths in the period 48 hours before (36) and 48 hours after (35) the alleged period of interrupted oxygen supply (from the evening of 10th August to morning of August 11th),” the report stated. This part of the report essentially bears out Uttar Pradesh government’s contention that there had in fact been no spurt in child deaths in the tertiary care hospital that caters to eight eastern UP districts of Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Deoria, Siddharth Nagar, Sant Kabir Nagar, Basti, Ballia and Azamgarh. After the uproar over the the BRD Hospital deaths, state Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh gave similar figures.
In August 2014, 567 children died at the BRD Hospital — approximately 19 per day. A year later, in August 2015, 668 children died at the rate of approximately 22 per day and in the same month of 2016, 587 babies died — 20 per day. This August 10, the day that oxygen supply was allegedly affected in the hospital, 23 children died.
Source: Indian Express