Inquiry into lack of oxygen

Thirty infants died
INVESTIGATION: Thirty infants died

POLICE in India are investigating whether 30 infants died for lack of oxygen in a northern state-run hospital, the second case within a month in which medical sup- ply shortages have been blamed for the deaths of dozens of children.

An underfunded, poorly managed public health system is in the spotlight after more than 60 children died in August in a public hospital in northern Uttar Pradesh, amid accusations that oxygen supplies ran out because of unpaid bills.

Police launched an investigation last Sunday (3) in the latest case after a government report blamed the chief medical officer and doctors at an- other institution in the northern state, Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, for the deaths of 30 children.

The infants died of “perinatal asphyxia” at the newborn care unit of the hospital in the state’s Farrukhabad district between July 21 and Aug. 20, police said.

“The probe officer was told by mothers that the hospital did not insert oxygen pipes (into infants’ windpipes) after birth, and proper medication was also not given,” police said in the complaint, quoting the government report.