In the last 24 hours, 24 patients, including 12 newborns, were reported to have passed away at Dr. Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College hospital in Nanded. Officials have cited inadequate medical facilities, and a shortage of staff and medicines as factors leading to this tragic incident. This is the second such tragedy in Maharashtra in two months. In August, 18 people died at the Thane Municipal Corporation-run Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial (CSMM) Hospital in Kalwa.
While speaking to the media, Dr. Shyamrao Wakode, the acting dean of the hospital, claimed that many of the 12 adult patients were already in an unstable condition upon admission, having come from remote areas of the district. He also mentioned that the hospital was supposed to procure medicine from the Haffkine Institute, but this did not occur. Furthermore, there was a staff shortage due to numerous transfers.
In a statement released to the press by the hospital, it was reported that among the deceased adults, four were suffering from heart disease, two from kidney disease, one from liver disease, one from poisoning, one woman had delivery complications and three were injured in accidents. Among the pediatric patients, four were admitted in a serious condition and had been referred from the private hospital. The hospital statement also mentioned that the hospital had a supply of vital medications, and for the ongoing fiscal year, it received Rs 12 crore in funding, with an extra Rs 4 crore granted.
Dr. Dilip Mhaisekar, Director of Medical Education and Research, Maharashtra, told the press, that a three-member expert committee from Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (formerly Aurangabad) district has been formed with a mandate to submit the report and also said that he will personally visit the hospital to review the situation.
Immediate action to save the 70 seriously ill patients admitted to the hospital was demanded by former CM and senior Congress MLA Ashok Chavan. He expressed concern about the worrisome situation in the hospital, highlighting that no new appointments had been made to fill the vacancies of the nurses who were transferred. Furthermore, he pointed out the need for recruiting doctors. Chavan also noted that the hospital was facing financial distress as the money from the District Planning Committee had yet to receive technical approval. During his visit, he observed that the hospital was accommodating 1,200 patients, surpassing its intended capacity of 500. He expressed his intention to speak to Ajit Pawar about the matter and suggested that the government should carefully examine the situation and take control.
In Mumbai, the fatalities were described as "unfortunate" by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who announced a comprehensive investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, the state government faced criticism from the Opposition regarding the condition of public health facilities in the state.
(Input from various media sources)