Sambalpur, 21 July
Eight of the nine newborns who had died in 24 hours between Friday to Saturday were ‘critical cases’ referred to the VSS Medical College and Hospital from distant places, opined doctors today even as a three member probe team headed by Dr Sunamali Bag, the director of medical education and training (DMET) arrived here for an enquiry.
They were referral cases, the weight of some of the babies was less than one kg, said a doctor indicating that ‘extremely low birth weight’ and long distance travel had made these cases critical by the time they were admitted to the VSS Medical college and Hospital , Burla.
The weight of the one of the deceased barely 600 grams, said one of the members of the enquiry committee.  Even attendants of other patients in the ward have testified to the critical condition of the babies, said the member, virtually negating the charge of negligence by doctors at the VSS.
On record, however, the DMET Dr Bag said: “We have examined all aspects, checked the equipments which are all working fine, talked to the nursing staff, patients , doctors etc and we will submit our findings without three days to the government”. He refused to comment on the cause of death.
Dr Bag and the team inspected the equipments, including the incubator at the Special Newborn Care Unit of the hospital. “Each and every equipment and machine is in perfect working condition,” he said.
The residents of Burla have been agitating  over the deaths since yesterday. Opposition Congress workers staged a protest demonstration in front of the hospital today and demanded a judicial probe while one of the bereaved families lodged a police complaint alleging that his baby boy had died due to negligence by doctors.
Another fact finding team constituted by the local people headed by Dr Aswini Nayak, a senior physician, also visited VSS Medical college and hospital today. Dr Nayak said he was not satisfied with the response of the hospital authorities. He raised questions on the supply of oxygen and phototherapy.