Indian police are investigating the deaths of 30 infants due to lack of oxygen at a state-run hospital in the north of the country, the second case in a month where a lack of medical supplies has killed dozens of children. The ill-governed and poorly funded government health system has been in the spotlight after more than 60 children were killed in August in a public hospital in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on charges of depleting oxygen supplies due to unpaid bills.
Police began an investigation on Sunday in the latest case after a government report accused the chief health and medical officer of another institution in the state, Ram Manohar Luhaya Hospital, after the deaths of 30 children.
The babies died of postpartum suffocation in the neonatal care unit of the hospital in the state’s Faruqabad district between July 21 and August 20, police said.
“The mothers told the investigating officer that the hospital did not install oxygen tubes (in the trachea) after birth and did not give them the right medication,” the police said in a complaint, quoting a government report.
Police in the complaint, which was seen by Reuters, said the investigation showed 30 of the 49 children who died of postpartum suffocation.
The district prosecutor issued an order to investigate infant deaths after media reports linked some deaths to hypoxia. He also issued an order to take action against doctors involved in the deaths.
Senior health official in the region, Dr Achilles Agarwal, denied any shortage of oxygen
He said the hospital saved 121 of the 145 infants hospitalized in critical condition after they were born elsewhere.