14 Infants Die in Chhattisgarh, Health Minister Gives Clean Chit to Hospital

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Fourteen infants died in the Chhattisgarh Institute of Medical Sciences since December 1.


Bilaspur:  Almost a month after 13 women died in botched sterilisation operations in Bilaspur, over a dozen neo-natal deaths have been reported from the area.

Since December 1, 14 infants died in the Chhattisgarh Institute of Medical Sciences, or CIMS, a government hospital where the victims of the sterilisation camp were also treated. (Read: Chhattisgarh Sterilisation Deaths - The Needle of Suspicion)

The families are devastated. Shyamu's twin sons were born in Kalmitar village on November 30. The day after, when their health deteriorated, they were taken to the Ratanpur Community Health Centre and then to the CIMS. A week later, both babies died. 

The family blames the hospital staff. "We were not allowed to see the infants while they were being treated. Only when my nephews died, we were able to see them," said Shyamu's sister Kewra Bai. "The hospital staff has been careless. As soon as the babies died, the nurses started pressurising us to leave the hospital."

Chhattisgarh health minister Amar Agrawal - whose resignation the state Congress has been demanding since the sterilisation deaths in November - has given the hospital a clean chit.

"The divisional collector and I investigated the infant deaths in Bilaspur. The doctors are not at fault and proper medical treatment was given to the infants," Mr Agrawal said.

"The health minister's claim is very surprising and insensitive. This is another reason why he should not remain the health minister," said Leader of Opposition TS Singhdeo. "There are 17 district hospitals... Why haven't infant deaths been reported from there, why only in Bilaspur?"

Chief Minister Raman Singh admitted the problem lies with the hospital, but said they were not considering the minister's resignation.

 "I feel there something is definitely lacking in the hospital. And the administration may have rectified the issue and in referral cases there are chances of casualty," he told NDTV. "We were never considering Amar Agrawal's resignation, the Congress has been making it an issue."

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