13 children die in 18 days at Odisha hospital, health minister asks for report

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Odisha Health and Family Welfare Minister NK Das on Sunday asked for a report from the district administration of Keonjhar on the deaths of 13 children in the span of 18 days due to alleged negligence in the pediatric ward of a state hospital in the mineral-rich district.

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The minister’s action came after a large number of people in the hospital of the district headquarters of Keonjhar staged an agitation demanding action against doctors whose alleged negligence led to the deaths of children.

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“This is an unfortunate incident. We need to find out the cause of death of the children. I have asked the district authorities of Keonjhar to find out the reason behind the incident,” the minister told reporters.

Relatives of the deceased children claimed that the doctor did not visit the hospital’s Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) on Saturday night, where critical patients were treated. This led to the death of children.

“This is an unfortunate incident. We need to find out the cause of death of the children. I have asked the district authorities of Keonjhar to find out the reason behind the incident,” the minister told reporters.

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Relatives of the deceased children claimed that the doctor did not visit the hospital’s Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) on Saturday night, where critical patients were treated. This led to the death of children.

Additional district doctor, Keonjhar, Kishore Prusty admitted that three children have died in the past 24 hours.

“Three children have died in the last 24 hours. Thirteen children have died in the past 18 days. A total of 122 children have been hospitalized until September 18…,” Prusty told reporters in Keonjhar.

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When people started attacking public properties in the hospital, senior police and health officials rushed to calm the troublemakers.

“My younger brother’s son was hospitalized. He died due to the negligence of the doctor and nurses,” claimed Mithun Nayak.

He said the child was admitted to the ICU and died because he was not given oxygen in time. Doctors and nurses should always be available in case of an emergency. But they were not present on Saturday night, Nayak claimed.