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Probe ordered into death of 4 infants at UP shelter home

Lucknow, Feb 16: The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered a probe into the death of four infants, between February 10 and 14, at the government shelter.

Another two infants from the government shelter are undergoing treatment in two hospitals.

Officials have claimed that the infants were brought to the public facility in poor health and their conditions worsened through the winters.

State minister Baby Rani Maurya has directed district-level medical officers to conduct regular check-ups of the children at the shelter home. Also, government establishments for children have been directed to arrange for adequate facilities.

The communique issued by Maurya’s office quotes her saying that the child protection department will continue to make efforts to provide proper medical facilities to children.

She added that a probe has also been launched to find out whether adequate measures were taken by the shelter home authorities to protect the infants during the winter season.

In the wake of the tragedy, Kinshuk Tripathi, superintendent of the shelter home, has been suspended for alleged negligence.

His suspension comes after a probe by a joint committee — comprising provisional officer and departmental medical officer.

Tripathi has also been issued a show-cause notice.

To investigate into the deaths, a magisterial inquiry and post-mortem of the bodies have been ordered. Meanwhile, doctors at the Civil Hospital have ruled out any negligence in providing medical attention to the victims.

They have testified that the children were admitted in critical conditions, and the shelter home authorities did not cause any delay in efforts to get them proper treatment. Their version aligns with the statement issued by District Magistrate Surya Pal Gangwar.

Notably, the infants were admitted to the hospital after their preliminary check-ups revealed poor health or when their health conditions started showing signs of deterioration. Two of them developed severe fever, another one had trouble breathing, and one of them even suffered from pneumonia and was also diagnosed with thalassemia (an inherited blood disorder).

Earlier, in January, Tripathi had said that children’s rooms were installed with all-weather air conditioners. Similarly, the dispensary, where children aged 0-2.5 years are kept, was also installed with the same facility.

However, the Chief Medical Officer’s team that inspected the government shelter last month has claimed negligence on part of the authorities in providing adequate care to children during the winter months of December and January. The team suspects that the ‘negligence’ may have been the cause of the unfortunate deaths.

“The CMO’s (chief medical officer) team said that the unit for infants at the shelter was overcrowded and that there should not be more than 14 infants in one room that size. Currently, our facility has 27 infants in one room but as per district magistrate’s order, we have cleared out the nursery classroom next door and are repurposing it into another infants’ unit,” said Tripathi.

He added, “It is extremely unfortunate that we lost four children but we did our best. As soon as their health deteriorated, we took them to the hospital. Some of them had to be admitted twice over the course of less than two months.”

Among the two infants undergoing treatment, the condition of two-month-old Moon, admitted to the Civil Hospital, has improved slightly.

Dr R.P. Singh, Chief Medical Superintendent of the hospital said, “The doctors are treating the child for septicaemia after the diagnosis was made. A medical team is looking after the child. The infant will hopefully recover fully soon.”

The other infant, Shagun, a four-month-old, is undergoing treatment at the Lok Bandhu Hospital after developing a fever and diarrhoea.


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