In a terrible incident, at least 31 patients, including children and infants, died in the past 48 hours in Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital in Maharashtra’s Nanded, reports emerged on Tuesday.
According to reports, 24 deaths, 12 adults and 12 newborn babies, were reported between Saturday and Sunday at the hospital resulting in strong political reactions with the opposition blaming the state government for failing to maintain the supply of essential medicines. Today, the death toll has risen to 31 with seven more deaths. Among these, 16 were infants or children.
Earlier on Monday, Hospital Superintendent Dr SR Wakode was quoted by Times of India saying, “Out of the 12 newborn babies that succumbed included six females. Eight of these babies succumbed with zero to three days of birth, while four were referred in critical condition to GMCH, Nanded from private hospitals including the neighbouring districts.”
He further said that owing to recent transfers of the staff, they faced some problems, however, ensured it did not affect health services to the patients.
Further speaking on the allegations related to lack of essential and lifesaving medicines, he said, “Some medicines were supposed to be purchased from Haffkine Institute but it did not happen, due to which there was some problem. The sanctioned budget for medicines too falls short due to heavy flow of patients from neighbouring districts including the ones in area bordering Telangana. We always ensure that a patient does not lose his life for lack of essential medicines at our hospital. In such situations we purchase medicines from local budget. We cannot deny that sometimes, there may be shortage of medicines for non-serious ailments.”
According to the stats as of Monday, out of the 12 adults who died between Saturday and Sunday, four died of heart attack, one of food poisoning, two of kidney failure, one woman due to complications resulting during delivery, three were critically injured from accidents and one from stomach ailment.
Meanwhile, the Director of Medical Education and Research, Dr Dilip Mhaisekar was quoted by PTI on Monday saying, “A three-member expert committee from Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar district has been formed with a mandate to submit a report. I am personally visiting the hospital to review the situation.”
Following the tragedy, Lok Sabha MP and Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi targetting the BJP, a part of part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra, posted on X, "The news of the death of 24 people, including 12 newborns, due to lack of medicines in a government hospital in Nanded, Maharashtra is very sad. I express my deepest condolences to all the bereaved families. The BJP government spends thousands of crores of rupees on its campaign, but there is no money for children's medicines? In the eyes of the BJP, the lives of the poor have no value." (translated from Hindi)