The Dr. Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital in Nanded, Maharashtra, have been thrust into the spotlight as the death toll surged to 35 on Tuesday, up from the previous day’s tally of 24. This tragic figure includes 16 infants and 19 adults, highlighting a dire situation that has raised questions about the state of healthcare in the region.
Medical Education Minister Hasan Mushrif paid a visit to the hospital on Tuesday and held discussions with doctors and administrative staff. During the visit, he acknowledged that a shortage of doctors had contributed to the fatalities. To address this issue, the government is contemplating appointing doctors on a contractual basis until the vacancies can be filled through regular recruitment processes.
In a separate but equally concerning incident, the Government Medical College and Hospital at Sambhaji Nagar reported 14 deaths, including two infants. Hospital Superintendent Dr. Vijay Kalyankar stated that these fatalities were not linked to a lack of medical personnel or essential medicines.
Hemant Patil, Member of Parliament from Hingoli, neighboring Nanded, stirred controversy during his visit to the Nanded hospital. He expressed his displeasure at the hospital’s unhygienic conditions and insisted that the hospital’s acting Dean, Dr. S.R. Wakode, clean the toilet. This incident sparked unrest among doctors and drew condemnation from the Maharashtra State Association of Resident Doctors (MARD). Dr. Abhijit Helge, MARD’s President, emphasized that the acting Dean should not be held responsible for vacant positions, as it is the government’s responsibility to fill them. In response, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde ordered an inquiry into the incident, vowing that those found guilty would face consequences.
However, Chief Minister Shinde also refuted claims that the deaths were the result of medicine shortages or inadequate staffing.
The concerning situation in Nanded comes after 24 patients, including 12 infants, had died between September 30 and October 1 at the same medical facility. In a tweet, senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan lamented that 35 patients, including 16 infants, had lost their lives in just 48 hours in his district. Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole criticized the state government, stating that it seemed to have learned nothing from the previous incident at the Kalwa government hospital in Thane, where numerous patients had died. Patole voiced deep concern over the deaths occurring due to medicine shortages and demanded that a case be registered against the government under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
While the state government grapples with the ongoing situation in Nanded, reports have emerged of eight more patients, including two infants, losing their lives in 24 hours at Ghati Hospital in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar, intensifying concerns over the state of healthcare in Maharashtra.
The growing number of deaths and the subsequent demands for accountability highlight the urgent need for comprehensive reforms and increased resources in the healthcare sector to prevent further tragedies.