Twenty-four deaths, including that of 12 infants, were reported between September 30 and October 1 in a government hospital in Nanded, a top Maharashtra health official said on Monday.
"In the last 24 hours, 24 deaths have been reported at Nanded government Hospital and Medical College (GMCH). Out of these, 12 are infants who were referred here by some local private hospitals. The remaining deaths are of adults for various reasons," Dr Dilip Mhaisekar, Director, Medical Education and Research, Maharashtra, told PTI.
Dean Dr S R Wakode of Dr Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital told reporters the 12 infants comprise six males and six females, adding that most were in the 0-3 day age group and had "very low weight".
"There are 142 admissions in the paediatric department, of which 42 are still critical. Oxygen as well as ventilator facilities are there. The patients are from neighbouring districts, including Hingoli, Parbhani and Washim. Some are from villages in neighbouring Telangana," he said.
As per the official statement issued by Nanded district collectorate, between September 30 and October 1, 24 deaths have been reported.
"Among the 12 adults who lost their lives, five were male and seven female. Four adults had heart-related ailments, one was suffering from an unknown poisoning, one had a liver issue, two were kidney patients, and one case was of complications during pregnancy. There were three accident cases," it said.
Among the deceased infants, four were brought to the hospital at the last stage, the collectorate statement said.
In the last two days, the hospital has received more patients from the rural parts as well as from distant places who are in serious condition, the statement said.
"A three-member expert committee from Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (formerly Aurangabad) district has been formed with a mandate to submit a report by 1pm on Tuesday. I am personally visiting the hospital to review the situation," Mhaisekar informed.
Speaking on the issue, Congress leader and former chief minister Ashok Chavan said the Eknath Shinde government must make arrangements for medical staff as well as funds for the Nanded GMCH on priority.
Chavan said the hospital has 500 beds but some 1,200 patients are admitted at present.
"It is natural that medical staff and doctors are overburdened due to such a large number of patients. I will speak to state deputy chief minister and finance minister Ajit Pawar seeking his intervention for funds," Chavan said.
The hospital has received Rs 12 crore funding in this year's District Planning Development Committee (DPDC), while the state government has also sanctioned Rs 4 crore additional funds, the statement from the collectorate said.
The dean has also said posts continue to remain vacant after the transfer of some nurses, while there is also a shortage of medical officers, the Congress leader claimed.
"I have suggested to the state government that they can take the help of private doctors. It is up to the state government to implement it or not," he added.
When asked if the Haffkine Institute has not supplied medicines to the hospital, he said he was unaware of such minute details.
The state state government has already given Rs 25 lakh worth of medicines to us, Dr Wakode said.
Incidentally, in a 24-hour period between August 12 and 13, a total of 18 patients had died in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hopsital in Kalwa in Thane district, creating a furore across the state.