Kashmir’s hospital horror: 500 babies died in 5 months
By Rizwan Khatik - Fri Aug 03, 4:03 am
SRINAGAR: The J&K government appointed inquiry commission headed by Dr Showkat Hussain Zargar to probe the death of infants in Srinagar’s GB Pant Hospital on Thursday held that their numbers were much higher than hitherto reported: more than 1,400 in the last one year. The Zargar commission also indicted the former medical superintendent of the pediatric hospital, Dr Javid Chowdhary, describing him as “irresponsible” and “negligent”.
The state government had ordered a probe after media reports revealed that hundreds of infants had died in the hospital due to official apathy. The final report has recommended a complete ban on private practice by doctors in state’s collegiate hospitals.
Dr Zargar, who is also the director Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, has suggested that no consultant may leave the OPD until four pm, which is when most doctors rush out for their private practice. He also said heads of department of concerned units must educate the faculty about this. Engagement of doctors in private practice was the main cause of infighting among faculty members, which hampered the functioning of GB Pant Hospital, the report said.
“Misunderstandings, allegations and counter-allegations by majority of faculty members against Dr Javid Chowdhary started in 2005 when he jointed the health institute,” the report said, pointing out that “in case any faculty member is found to indulge in corrupt practices with drug agencies, immediate criminal proceedings should be initiated against them.”
“Most of the times, the MS (Dr Chowdhary) remained out of hospital. Rest of the staff took advantage of his absence and came to the hospital as per their wish. Besides Dr Chowdhary, other doctors too were engaged in private practice,” the report adds. It indicted him for embezzlement of funds in purchase of machinery for the hospital. “The ventilators were purchased through dubious means and were not of standard. One among the two developed a snag and the hospital was running on one ventilator,” the report said.
The government has admitted that 480 infants have died at GB Pant Hospital since January, which takes their total death toll in the past 17 months to a 1400. “A drug mafia was running in the hospital to fleece patients. A team of doctors and staff was helping it flourish,” the report said.