Friday, October 3, 2008

18 kids die in 45 days in Kashmir hospital

Investigation reveals they were avoidable deaths 
Director says it's a minor issue


NASEER A GANAI
Srinagar, October 3: In a shocking revelation, it has been found that 18 children have died in the Pediatric Surgery department of the prestigious SK Institute of Medical Sciences in just 45 days. The documents available with Greater Kashmir describe them as ‘avoidable deaths’ asserting that they could have been avoided had proper infrastructure been in place and the Consultants conducted the surgeries themselves.

The issue came to the notice of the director of the institute, Dr Abdul Hamid Zargar, and several heads of departments when the assistant professor in the Pediatric Surgery department, Dr Nisar Ahmad Bhat, wrote to the director vide his letter SIMS/138/HA/F-08-131 on May 3, 2008, about the deaths.
“In last one and half month, department of Pediatric Surgery has seen 13 deaths. Mortality at this pace is a matter of concern for all of us. Most of these deaths could have been avoided with the availability of basic infrastructure and a better support from the concerned specialists,” Dr Nisar wrote, demanding that the deaths should be analyzed one by one to find out causes and subsequently efforts have to be made to avoid such eventualities.
An investigation into the ‘alarming mortality’ conducted by the department of Hospital Administration revealed that 18 children had died in just 45 days and that the patients had not been evaluated properly. It was found that re-exploration was being done in emergencies by senior residents and not by consultants; that calls were being sent to senior residents of the Neonatology for cross consultation and not to consultants; that Pediatric Surgery consultants did not make rounds of accident and emergency and patients got stuck up; that the Pediatric Surgery and Neonatology departments did not regularly discuss progress of patients and that the incidence of mortality was definitely higher in Pediatric Surgery Department. 
Following these revelations, the Hospital Administration has recommended a slew of measures to minimize the mortality. It suggested proper evaluation of patients by senior residents and consultants; regular rounds by consultants both in their ward and also of accident and emergency; and the conduct of surgeries by consultants. Absence of ventilators in the Pediatric Surgery department has also been a cause of concern. Even in the emergency ward, patients often suffer for want of ventilators. 
The director SKIMS said the administration swiftly dealt with the issue when it was reported to it. He said though the issue was ‘minor one and there was no extraordinary death,’ the administration took the issue seriously and since then there has been lot of improvement in the concerned department. “The deaths in the period were compared with the deaths in previous years and other departments and it was found that it was not alarming,” he said.
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