In the wake of the death of 71 children in Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College and Hospital between August 7 and 17, a three-member technical team was sent by the Centre for onsite assessment of the mortality situation at the tertiary care hospital. In the report submitted to the Union Health Ministry on Thursday, the team mentioned that eight out of twelve senior resident posts are vacant and only 3 of 31 nurses are trained to handle newborns, the Indian Express reported. The report also said that the most basic infection control norms like washing hands and use of disinfectants were not being followed at the hospital.
The team visited the hospital on August 13 and called for a facility-based pediatric death audit. The report stated, “Currently, there is sub-optimal care with regard to a sepsis routines (handwashing, use of disinfectants, cleaning of bassinets after discharge or death of neonate), gross overuse of antibiotics and intravenous fluid therapy as well as poor nutritional support in form of eternal feeding… Deaths early after admission (within 12 hours) were just 11%, with 25% within 24 hours of admission and another 25-35% deaths occurring in the next 24 hours. This indicates that nearly 50% deaths are occurring within 48 hours of admission, implying both sub optimal stabilisation at peripheral units and poor care after admission in the BRD Medical College.”
As per the report, the patients are managed by the untrained doctors beyond the routine hours and that includes those who are either still students or are learning to manage sick patients. The report given by the team stated, “The overall strength of faculty and junior residents (pursuing MD) including non-academic JR (junior residents) seems reasonable. However, the number of senior residents (post-MD residents) is grossly inadequate being 4 against 12 vacancies and they need to be on the floor to provide 24/7 cover and not just during routine hours. It is these post-MD senior residents who take decisive actions as regards patient care and make a significant difference to the quality of care provided to patients. Currently, the patients are managed beyond routine hours by junior residents who are themselves still students and learning to manage sick patients.”