After Gorakhpur, hundreds of children die in Jharkhand’s hospitals

Jamshedpur: During the news reports coming from the government hospital in Gorakhpur of children’s death, nobody mentioned a far worse situation of Jharkhand’s hospitals. Where the number of deaths was staggering.

The scale of the deaths has revealed the inability of doctors to handle emergencies. Between January and August, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) has witnessed the death of 660 children.

In July and August alone, 213 children were reported dead at the RIMS in the Jharkhand’s capital, whereas MGM Medical College and Hospital in Jamshedpur accounted for 104 deaths, reports India Today.

A majority of the deaths took place due to pneumonia, asphyxia, malaria and premature birth. The children mostly belonged to poor and lower middle-class families. RIMS and MGM are the biggest state-run hospitals in Jharkhand.

Also Read: August claims 290 children’s lives and its counting in Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College

An independent inquiry was conducted by Jamshedpur principal district and sessions judge Manoj Prasad at the MGM Hospital on August 28, who mentioned in his report that only four beds in the hospital’s neonatal ward were fully equipped and that the hospital was incapable of handling even a slight spurt in emergency pregnancy cases.

On August 30, Dr A.K. Choudhary, head of paediatrics and neonatology at RIMS, had claimed to the media that his department was doing a good job. He said 543 out of 646 children admitted to the hospital in August had been saved while in July, 588 out of 698 children were treated and sent home healthy.

Perhaps the courts think otherwise. Based on judge Prasad’s report, the Jharkhand High Court on September 1 initiated a suo motu public interest litigation and issued notices to the state’s health and finance secretaries, director-in-chief of health services and the directors of MGM Hospital and RIMS.

The court sought to know what measures the officials had taken to check the high mortality among newborns and children. While the judicial rap is expected to push the state government into action, officials accuse both chief minister Das and health minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi of not being proactive in addressing the inadequacies of the healthcare system. So far, the state government has only removed RIMS superintendent S.K. Choudhary.

On inspection, however, a committee of legislators found several doctors and professors of the hospital missing from duty.