Power outage at Chhattisgarh government hospital kills 4 newborns | India News

RAIPUR: Four newborns, all aged between 1 and 5 days, died at the government-run Ambikapur Medical College in Surguja, North Chhattisgarh, on Monday morning after a power shutdown.
The children’s anguished family members alleged that ventilators and the oxygen support system in the Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) stopped working during the power outage, and the babies gasped to death. Hospital authorities, however, denied any power failure, and claimed it was a “power interruption”, which didn’t affect vital life-support systems. The hospital refused to even give out the names of the dead babies, saying they were “busy with the probe”.
The condition of a few other children is said to be critical and all of them are under observation.
Amid rising anger over the child deaths, health minister T S Singhdeo ordered the health secretary to set up a team of senior officials for a high-level inquiry. Singhdeo said he came to know about the incident at 10.30am on Monday after which he flew to Ambikapur to meet the bereaved families and take stock of the situation.
“I have spoken with chief minister Bhupesh Baghel and I’m visiting Ambikapur Medical College Hospital with his permission. The CM has arranged a helicopter for me. I will talk to the doctors and relatives to find out the reason behind the deaths. Accountability will also be fixed and culprits will be punished severely if (their guilt is) established,” Singhdeo said before boarding the helicopter for Ambikapur.
“Electricity supply to the hospital had definitely stopped for some time, but the ventilator and oxygen support systems were on,” insisted Ambikapur medical college dean Dr Ramanesh Murthy. “It was not a power failure, rather it was an interruption for the maintenance work on Monday morning. As the UPS was on, there was no chance of the ventilator and oxygen support system getting shut down,” said Dr Murthy.
The deaths of the children were reported between 5am and 8.30am on Monday, said doctors. “Seven nurses and a doctor were on duty and they reported the death between these hours. While two of the children weighed around 1.5 kg each because of their premature birth, two others were suffering from heart and respiratory problems even though their weight was near normal,” said Dr Murthy.
The condition of the infants who died was already critical and there was no relation between their death and the ‘power interruption’, Dr Murthy reiterated, adding that a similar incident was reported one and a half years ago, when two-three children died. All of them were premature births and weighed 800-1200 gm.
The condition of a few other children is said to be critical and all of them are under observation.

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