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Panel gives clean chit to doctors and nurses

DEATH OF NEWBORNS AT BARPETA

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Oct 6: A day after Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College & Hospital (FAAMCH), Barpeta, literally turned into a graveyard for newborns, registering the death of as many as eight infants, an Expert Committee constituted by Dispur to probe the incident on Friday gave clean chit to doctors, nurses and other staff working at the hospital, thereby raising eyebrows of many and protest by the Opposition.
In its inquiry report, the Expert Committee constituted by the Directorate of Medical Education and headed by Dr Gayatri Bezboruah stated that even though it is unfortunate that eight neonates died at the Sick Neonatal Care Unit (SNCU) at FAAMCH, it is evident that proper medical care and support was provided to the newborns and they succumbed to death in spite of all possible efforts.
Asserting that infrastructure facilities of the SNCU of FAAMC is adequate, the committee completely ruled out negligence on the part of doctors, nurses and other working staff in the incident.
The committee found that the conditions of the deceased newborns were very critical and most of the mothers had pregnancy-related complications. All the newborns were diagnosed as having severe birth asphyxia. Four out of the eight babies had low birth weight besides birth asphyxia. Majority of the mothers did not have proper antenatal care and attended hospital very late while in labour. Two of the mothers had home deliveries.
According to the Expert Committee, there is a need to create awareness among the pregnant women vis-à-vis antenatal check-up, proper medication in time and proper nutrition that will certainly help in preventing many such situations in future.
While Dr Bezboruah, head of the Paediatric Department of Gauhati Medical College & Hospital (GMCH), was the Chairperson of the Expert Committee, Dr Arati Deka and Dr Niruprabha Saharia from the same department of GMCH were its members.
Meanwhile, the Expert Committee report has raised eyebrows among many citizens as they are intrigued how come it gave a clean chit to doctors, nurses and the entire hospital staff even after death of eight newborns.
“Something somewhere in the FAAMC at Barpeta must have gone wrong that resulted in such a tragic incident. The Expert Committee should have conducted a thorough investigation,” Abdul Hamid, a resident of Guwahati said.
The Opposition Congress and AIUDF, while not convinced with the report, have demanded a high-level inquiry.