Over the continuous infants deaths at the Sishu Bhawan in Odisha, the hospital had been in the line of fire for some days recently. A probe was initiated at the hospital after the furore raised by parents where they accused doctors and staffs for medical negligence.
More than 21 infants had died at the hospital and the main reason lies in the failure of the State to effect a robust and capable healthcare system at the peripheral level. The infants had died due to some severe conditions like Birth asphyxia, sepsis, pneumonia, premature and low birth weight, meningitis which require immediate critical care interventions. But due to the shortage of facilities at the hospital there was a delay in treatment that led to consequent deaths.
The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Pediatrics (Sishu Bhawan) has around 416 beds along with nine neonatal ICU (NICU) and 12 Paediatric ICU (PICU) beds and is struggling to cope with the inflow of more than 450 patients every day.
"The very lacunae lies in the inability of the healthcare system of the State to not only provide prompt treatment but also prevent many of the complications. For instance, birth asphyxia which is estimated to account for at least 20 percent of newborn deaths, can be minimized by institutional deliveries at the hands of skilled persons like obstetricians in presence of pediatricians. While there is a lack of specialists at peripheral hospitals, there is also a tendency among the doctors to not take the risk and refer any complicated case to Sishu Bhawan without even trying," stated sources.
"It is like the whole State of Odisha is destined to die at Sishu Bhawan in Cuttack. The first 24 hours are extremely critical to a baby's survival if there are complications. Immediate interventions are key to saving a whole lot of lives rather than dispatching them to the only tertiary care hospital that lies far away from the districts. In the process, not only vital time is lost but also overcrowding is caused, depriving the patient of proper treatment," a doctor rued.
"Regional level speciality pediatric facilities should be developed to ease the burden on one tertiary care hospital along with strengthening district hospitals with level two critical care units at the most," said healthcare experts.