While the death of more than 358 infants in 5 months at GB Pant Hospital in Srinagar caused widespread panic in Jammu & Kashmir, the causality of about 711 babies in just 7 months at SMGS Hospital in Jammu last year didn’t bother any one at the helm of affairs.
It is depressing that despite liberal funding from central government to state for improving healthcare, especially among women and children, hundreds of women and infants continue to lose their life due to alleged negligence of the concerned department.
It is more disappointing and depressing that in one region of the State, value of a life is precious to political and social leaders and the department concerned while for the other region, it hardly costs anything.
It is evident by the intervention of ministers including Union Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, and Medical Education Minister R S Chib besides administration hierarchy concerned. Not only has been made promises for upgradation of services and maintenance but also the entire staff of the hospital has been transferred, showing seriousness and concern of authorities.
And on the other hand last year, as per the classified report published by Kashmir Images on 8-8-2011, about 711 children most of them newly born, succumbed while 40 mothers lost their lives during labor due to alleged negligence of doctors, paramedical staff and dire need of life saving equipment and machinery in less than 7 months.
The official data reveals that in February last, 23-year old Sonam Sharma, wife of Rakesh Sharma, a resident of Ward No.2, Bhour Camp, delivered a healthy baby in the hospital but, after sometime the family members and in-laws of Sonam Sharma were asked to immediately arrange blood. Though blood was arranged yet the doctors declared the woman as dead asserting that she suffered from internal abdominal bleeding.
Poli Devi wife of Kuldeep Singh of Rattan Pura Samba died on 21.03.2011, Joyti Devi wife of Parveen Kumar of Kote Budhani died on 14.07.2011, Shallu Devi daughter Modan Lal of Targwal Akhnoor died on 15.07.2011. Similar kind of episode happened on 30-7-2011 when Vandana Devi wife of Hardev Singh of Billawar died, yet another death was reported on 03-8-2011 when a lady Nusarat Begum wife of Farat Hussain of Batyas Gandoh died while delivering baby due to alleged negligence on part of the doctor, following which relatives of the deceased ransacked the hospital.
Meanwhile, according to official records, the hospital admitted 4274 neonates (new-born patients) in 2011. While as in the same year the hospital recorded 475 neonatal deaths including 320 pediatric deaths, which they say was higher than this year. Official records at GB Pant Hospital presently, (January 1, 2012) show that around 358 children died during the period in the hospital against 1229 admissions. A large number of 105 deaths occurred in March. The number of deaths in January was 68 while in February the figure stood at 66. In March 105; in April 85; in May (up to 12th) 34 deaths occurred. But paradoxically, there are only five ventilators catering to around 1700 patients on average at G B Pant Hospital.
Question remains that whether these deaths are outcome of negligence or occur naturally. If natural what the hell could ministers, bureaucrats and officials do to avert such tragedies but if due to negligence then why did not they all learn lesson from these heart burning deaths occurring every year and every month. Dead infants could not be brought back but expressing sympathy with GB Panth victims by these ministers, leaders and officers could ease their pain. Victims of SMGS hospital Jammu will never forgive and forgot the pain the bear due to loss of their infants and women.