Encephalitis deaths: Senior doctor suspended for negligence in first action since fever outbreak in Bihar

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New Delhi | June 23, 2019 5:52 PM

Till Saturday, at least 127 children died due to encephalitis — 107 at SKMCH, 20 at Kejriwal hospital.

encephalitis in bihar, encephalitis syndrome, encephalitis causes, encephalitis fever, encephalitis symptoms, encephalitis disease, encephalitis treatment, encephalitis in children, encephalitis in indiaA child suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome lies on a bed at a hospital in Muzaffarpur, in the eastern state of Bihar, India, June 20, 2019. (Image source: REUTERS/Alasdair Pal)

Encephalitis deaths in Bihar: A senior resident doctor, Bhimsen Kumar, has been suspended from Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur for negligence. Media reports suggest that over 109 children who were admitted to the hospital with acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) also known as Japanese encephalitis lost their lives due to lack of treatment. The SKMCH is being seen as the epicentre of the epidemic with 109 of 129 encephalitis deaths reported from this hospital.

SKMCH Superintendent Sunil Shahi while speaking to a news channel confirmed about the development and said: “We have received a letter from the government which talks about suspending the doctor.” Till Saturday, at least 127 children died due to encephalitis — 107 at SKMCH, 20 at Kejriwal hospital.

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According to Bihar health department, brain fever, better known as chamki bukhar locally has spread across 16 of 38 districts. At present, more than 600 patients are reportedly suffering from AES. Doctors suggest that poverty and malnourishment are some key factors behind children’s deaths in Bihar. But the government has maintained that these deaths were caused by hypoglycemia which leads to a very low level of blood sugar along with electrolyte imbalance.

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan today reviewed the status of AES cases in Bihar. “The central and state teams have finalized the site and design of 100 bedded PICU at Muzaffarpur, which will be supported under a centrally sponsored scheme,” the minister said after reviewing the status of encephalitis cases with senior officers of the Health Ministry.

Earlier this week, Bihar’s health department sent Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) paediatrician to SKMCH to review the operations. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is under pressure from the opposition which has accused him of doing nothing for the primary healthcare in the state.

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