Lack of a baby warmer led to the death of a four-day-old girl at the MGM Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on Thursday morning. While hospital authorities officially blamed poor health for the death of the unnamed baby of Jyoti Naik and B. Ravi, sources said that the actual reason was the shortage of baby warmers also known as radiant warmers. Relatives of the victim, too, blamed the hospital authorities and doctors for the death.
According to sources, MGM’s 20-bed NICU ward has 18 warmers for the 60 newborns who are treated there daily on an average. The shortage of warmers, is overcome by placing two to three babies together in one incubator. “It is very dangerous to place two or three newborns together under one warmer as it not only results in improper treatment but there are also chances of an unhealthy baby infecting the others,” said a NICU employee on condition of anonymity.
Shortage of critical equipment at NICU is the main reason for most of the 400-500 deaths reported from this ward annually, say insiders who claim that out of 3,000 annual admissions, 15-20 per cent of newborns die in the NICU. MGM superintendent A.N.R. Lakshmi, however, denied reports of shortage of warmers. “We have them in sufficient numbers. The baby died as she was premature and was brought in a critical condition,” she said