Maha hospital deaths: NHRC seeks probe report within a month, to send expert for probe

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Mumbai, Oct 5 (IANS) Taking suo motu cognizance of media reports on the series of deaths this week in government hospitals in the state, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has served a notice to the Maharashtra government seeking a detailed report, within four weeks, on the incidents, and the status of infrastructure and manpower at the affected hospitals.

The NHRC will also send its Special Rapporteur P. N. Dixit to the two state-run hospitals in Nanded and Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar to identify the causes/reasons behind the large number of deaths of patients, including several newborn infants, and submit an independent report within two months.

The development came a day after the Bombay High Court also took a similar initiative and sought a report on the health budget allocation from the state government, with the matter likely to come up for further hearing on Friday.

In a statement, the NHRC said: “The Commission has observed that the contents of the media report, if true, amount to a violation of human rights relating to the life and health of the victims due to negligence by public authorities, which is a matter of concern.”

The apex rights panel’s notice to the Chief Secretary, has asked the state to inform it about the actions taken against the public servants responsible for maintaining the two government hospitals in Nanded and Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, and the status of the relief and rehabilitation provided to the aggrieved families.

“The Commission would also like to know about the steps taken or proposed by the state government to ensure that such unfortunate deaths do not recur in the future,” the NHRC said.

The Special Rapporteur will inspect wards, toilets and premises of both the hospitals to identify shortcomings in hygiene, safe and clean environment besides taking stock of medicines, oxygen and medical facilities, including the strength of doctors and nurses and suggest remedial measures in a comprehensive report within eight weeks, the NHRC added.

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