Taking note of the high death count at the Nanded hospital, the Bombay High Court had sought a detailed response from the Eknath Shinde government
Confronting a huge backlash over 31 deaths in 72 hours at a hospital in Nanded, the Maharashtra government is set to shift the blame to private healthcare units in the area that were shut for the extended weekend, sources have told NDTV.
Taking note of the high death count at the state-run hospital, the Bombay High Court had sought a detailed response from the Eknath Shinde government. It had also said shortage of medicines, beds and staff at the healthcare units was unacceptable.
According to sources, the Maharashtra government is likely to tell the court today that private hospitals near Dr Shankarrao Chavan government medical college and hospital at Nanded had few staff due to back-to-back holidays.
The private hospitals referred critical cases, many of them newborns, to the government hospital and this pushed up the death count at the Nanded facility, the state government is set to tell the court. Private healthcare units are responsible for the deaths of at least 10 newborns that were reported at the Nanded hospital, the state government is likely to say in its affidavit, according to sources.
Speaking to the media on how the state government plans to respond in court, Medical Education minister Hasan Mashrif said, “Ten of the newborns who died had been brought (to the state-run hospital) from private hospitals. And they were in a very serious condition when they were brought in.”
The minister said the state government has formed a committee and has conducted an audit of each death. “We will put these all matters before the court,” he said.
The Eknath Shinde-led government has maintained that there was no shortage of medicines or doctors at the Nanded hospital.
Ground reports have, however, shown a different picture. NDTV found pigs roaming on the hospital premises and drains clogged by plastic bottles. Relatives of patients who had died at the hospital said they had to buy medicines from outside and no senior doctor was attending to the patients.
The dean of the hospital and another doctor have been charged in a case of culpable homicide after the newborn’s relative alleged that the baby died due to negligence.
Dr SR Wakode, the acting dean, had earlier registered a police complaint against Shiv Sena MP Hemant Patil who made him clean a filthy toilet at the hospital.
Viral videos showed Mr Patil asking the dean to clean the toilet. The Nanded MP has now been charged with IPC provisions relating to criminal force to deter a public servant from doing his duty, defamation and criminal intimidation. The MP was also charged under relevant provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
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