The fate of ailing children in Rajasthan is worsening by the day. The statistics of PBM Hospital of Bikaner are worse than those of JK Lon Hospital of Kota. While in Kota, 110 children died in 35 days, in the Bikaner hospital, 162 children lost their lives in 31 days of December 2019.
These figures mean that more than five children are dying every day. Last month, 2,219 children of parents mostly from other places were born in the PBM Hospital. Out of these, 162 or 7.3% of the babies died.
In the whole year, January-December 2019, a total of 1,681 children have died here. In the 220-bed PBM Shishu Hospital, 140 beds are of the general ward. Seventy-two beds are for the care of newborn children. Most of these children are dead or are dying.
Sharing the death toll, principal of Sardar Patel Medical College Dr HS Kumar said that most of the deaths were of newborn children who reached this medical college in Bikaner on reference from different village clinics in critical conditions. “They reach the hospital in so serious a condition that it becomes difficult to save them,” Dr Kumar said.
Dr Kumar said that due to the Janani Suraksha Yojana and other beneficial schemes, children from remote areas in serious conditions are referred to PBM, the only hospital in the division that has an ICU dedicated to infants. “PBM doctors try to treat them properly. Even then, children in very serious conditions die,” the doctor said.
Dr Kumar does not consider the deaths a result of negligence on the part of the hospital. However, a day before, district collector of Bikaner Kumar Pal Gautam had visited the PBM Hospital. He saw the arrangements here and lambasted the doctors.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched an attack on the ruling party of Rajasthan, the INC, following the news of children’s deaths. Politicians of the party inspected the Bikaner hospital and talked to the press about two children in one bed while slamming the negligence of the hospital administration.
The general ward in this hospital in Bikaner has beds with dirty bedsheets and equally filthy blankets to cover the admitted children in the cold of the nights.
Since the time the media reported the condition of this hospital, its administration has been silent on the issue. Journalists now visiting the hospital are escorted to the spots of the hospital that are relatively better maintained.