Eight babies died in the last 24 hours at the Niloufer Hospital, a referral hospital run by the State government, allegedly due to lack of medical attention on account of the ongoing strike by junior doctors.
Hospital authorities confirmed that the deaths occurred between 8 pm on Saturday and 12 pm on Sunday.
“Seven of them died after arrival as they could not be attended to immediately. We had sufficient time in only one case and we did our best. The case was complicated,” said Niloufer Superintendent.
The kids, four male and four female, were either new-borns or one-year-olds.
The junior doctors have been on an indefinite strike for the past 18 days demanding that the special protection force, withdrawn in 2007, be provided to them again in the wake of the increasing attacks by the kin of patients.
The hospital superintendent vehemently denied the allegation that the children had died due to lack of sufficient medicare.
“We are doing our best to provide better medical facilities to the patients. We are taking new admissions even though junior doctors are agitating,” he claimed.
To pointed questions on the high number of deaths, he explained, “since ours is a referral hospital, children, who have ailments in advanced stages, are brought here.”
There was palpable tension at the hospital as the junior doctors staged a demonstration and tried to block the way of Ravi Raju, the Director of Medical Education, when he arrived.
They demanded that the DME agree to form a panel to look into their demands. The DME had to leave the hospital with a heavy police escort.
Patients, meanwhile, are shifting to private hospitals.