Ludhiana: Taking serious note of the death of five newborn babies at a civil hosital here, Punjab government on Monday suspended a gynaecologist and transferred a medical officer, as Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal ordered an inquiry and said those found negligent "would not be spared".
Punjab Health Minister Surjeet Kumar Jayani placed gynaecologist Dr Alka Mittal posted at Ludhiana Civil Hospital here under suspension with immediate effect and transferred Senior Medical Officer Dr RK Karkara.
Condoling the death of the newborns, the Chief Minister said he has asked officers to ascertain the causes and circumstances which led to the incident and submit an inquiry report at the earliest.
Assuring prompt action, Badal said if laxity was found on the part of any public servant in dealing with this incident, he/she "would not be spared and brought to book as per the law of the land".
Three days after the inauguration of a mother-child wing at the hospital, four new-borns died yesterday during the time of delivery, which the families alleged were carried out by "class IV employees in the absence of gynaecologists".
Another death of a newborn was reported today, according to health officials.
Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Rajat Agarwal has been asked to hold a thorough inquiry and submit the report to the government within a week.
He has also been asked to constitute his own team of officers either from the head office or the district to hold an independent inquiry into the entire incident.
Parents had accused the hospital staff of being negligent in their duties which led to the death of babies.
Dr Alka Mittal, who was already chargesheeted a few days back for negligence in discharging her duties, has been placed under suspension with immediate effect.
SMO R K Karkara has been transferred for not maintaining discipline in the medical institution, Jayani said.
Adding further, the Minister said that although a thorough probe has been ordered, infants' death was "natural as babies did not have any heartbeat" when mothers were brought to hospital.
He claimed that doctors present at the time of procedure did try their best to save lives.
Terming the incident as most regrettable in the history of Punjab, Jayani said it had happened when Punjab government was taking steps to strengthen the government medical institutions and was in the process of upgrading these institutions by providing adequate hi-tech infrastructure.
He said that after the inquiry report, if anyone from the health department was found guilty of carelessness or laxity in any manner, then the department would give Rs 1 lakh as compensation to the families of the children.
Congress termed the incident as "complete criminal neglect", and sought resignation of Jayani.