15 newborns die in Assam hospital in 6 days, a probe is ordered

At least 15 infants died at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH) in Assam between 1 and 6 November, prompting the state health department to dispatch a team to investigate the subject, announced Friday officials.

The hospital authorities have also formed a committee to examine the issue, they said.

According to the JMCH superintendent, Saurav Borkakoti, 15 newborns died in the special care unit for newborns from the hospital between 1 and 6 November. However, Borkakoti said the deaths were not due to medical negligence or negligence of the hospital.

"Sometimes the number of patients presenting to the hospital can be significant and the number of newborn deaths can also be high. It depends on the situation in which the patients came to the hospital. They may have come with prolonged labor, with low birth weight. In such circumstances, these newborns may die, "Borkakoti said.

He added that since the civilian hospital had been transformed into a medical university and a full-fledged hospital, the number of patients had increased significantly, surpassing the 141-bed capacity of the SNCU. This forced the hospital to sometimes accommodate more babies, he added. The hospital has formed a six-member committee to investigate deaths, Borkakoti said.

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told the press that a team of experts, including the director of medical education assisted by UNICEF and a pediatric doctor from the Medical College and Gauhati Hospital, and another doctor from the Medical College and Assam Hospital, Dibrugarh, went to Jorhat to investigate the dead.