OHRC seeks report on infant deaths in Sishu Bhawan

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has directed the health department to submit an inquiry report into the death of infants in Sishu Bhawan at Cuttack.

The commission has asked the Health Secretary and Superintendent of Sishu Bhawan to submit their respective reports within four weeks.

Rights activist Akhand in his petition alleged that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics (popularly known as Sishu Bhawan) is a virtual death trap as more than 5,900 infants have died while undergoing treatment in the last five years.

According to a health department report, as many as 3,869 infants have died in OPD, while 2,034 have died in ICU in the last five years from 2010-11 to 2014-15, he said.

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Apart from Odisha, critical patients from ill-equipped hospitals in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal are also referred to Sishu Bhawan that has 416 beds and 36 Intensive Care Units.

“Some 500 infants are referred to the hospital every day. But doctors say they are unable to cope with the rush and it is not uncommon for infants to die while waiting to be admitted,” the petitioner alleged.

Delay in shifting the infants to the ICU, inadequate monitoring by doctors and lack of laboratory facilities are the main reasons behind the deaths, Akhand said.