J-K infant deaths: Omar for detailed probe

Omar Abdullah said the report on high infant mortality will be sent to the State Vigilance Organisation and State Accountability Commission.

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said the report on high infant mortality at the Valley`s only paediatric hospital will be sent to the State Vigilance Organisation and State Accountability Commission to fix responsibility in the matter.

"I believe this report needs to form the (basis of) inquiry both by the Vigilance and the Accountability Commission. I believe responsibility needs to be fixed. The report (submitted by Director SKIMS) was not to fix the responsibility," Omar told NDTV.

In May this year, the state government had ordered an inquiry by Director SKIMS Dr Showkat Zargar to probe the high number of infant deaths at the G B Pant hospital, the Valley`s only paediatric hospital.
More than 500 infants, mostly neonates, have died this year at the hospital, which led to a public outcry. The then Medical Superintendent of the hospital Javed Chaowdhury was attached pending an inquiry.

The Chief Minister said he has not absolved anyone of the responsibility for the situation that the hospital was in.

"There is no denying that failure at multiple levels, right from the hospital to the secretariat, resulted in the situation...I myself had to step in, and between myself and officers with me, we put in place certain corrective measures wherein the situation has been addressed to a large extent," he said.
The doctors who have deposed before the inquiry officer have alleged that they were forced to prescribe medicines from sub-standard companies and anyone who refused to follow the instructions of the hospital administration was humiliated.
The authorities have sealed a medical shop inside the hospital premises following the report of Dr Zargar.

"It is well known that people from lesser known drug companies were operating through this shop and were moving about in the hospital. The employees of the shop were also trying to promote drugs in the hospital...Of course such things cannot thrive without a nexus. There has to be a nexus," Medical Superintendent of G B Pant hospital Dr Muneer Masoodi said.