Jorhat Medical College Hospital

Close on the heels of the joint inspection team led by Director of Medical Education, Dispur is sending another high level team led by Samir Kumar Sinha, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare department and Commissioner, Health to review the probe into the deaths of 15 newborns from November 1 to 6 at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH) here.

Sinha will hold a review meeting with deputy commissioners of three districts, Jorhat, Golaghat and Sivasagar and the Superintendent and Principal of JMCH at 4 pm on Tuesday.

The four-member joint inspection team led by DME Anup Barman had reportedly gone through the internal probe report of JMCH with a fine tooth comb and also visited the Special Care Newborn Unit and Gynaecology and Paediatrics wards of the hospital and made several recommendations for increase in beds, staff and critical care equipment among others but Dispur does not seem to have been satisfied with the outcome.

The fresh impetus vis a vis the Principal Secretary’s and Commissioner’s visit tomorrow is indicative of this.

A source said that the visit by the two was to bridge a yawning gap between the district administration and JMCH authorities.

It has been reported that the deputy commissioner was unaware of the in-house enquiry into the large number of neonatal deaths within a week and the findings by the enquiry committee.

The Joint Secretary, Health also was allegedly kept in the dark regarding the probe by six members of JMCH headed by Professor Pranabjit Biswanath.

The JMCH committee was constituted on November 8 by Superintendent Dr Saurabh Borkotoky.  The report was submitted the next day.

Debajit Hazarika, Principal of the College had stated that all the cases of deaths were cases of late reporting by the expectant women.

Hazarika had said based on the report that the mothers of the newborns that died did not have records of pre-natal check-ups at the JMCH nor peripheral health centres like referral hospitals or PHCs of the district from where they had been referred to the JMCH in critical conditions in the final stage of delivery.

Hazarika had said the expectant mothers of the majority of the death cases had reported late at the medical centre or the JMCH. He further said that majority of deaths among the 15 were referred cases from the periphery centres.

“As the babies were delivered in critical conditions due to late reporting by the mothers, their admission to the Special Care Newborn Unit (SCNU) was necessitated,” Hazarika had said.

The deputy commissioner,  could not be contacted as he was busy in a meeting while the Joint secretary,  Health and deputy superintendent,  JMCH said that they had heard about the Principal Secretary, Health and Commissioner,  Health arriving in Jorhat tomorrow but could not speak further as they were busy in meetings.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at:

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