No action would be initiated on the basis of an FIR lodged against the CMO and the CMS of Farrukhabad district hospital in the case related to deaths of 49 infants in a month there, the Uttar Pradesh government said today. The FIR was registered last night in Farrukhabad, about 180 km from the state capital.
"The way things have been presented is not that has happened. No action is, therefore, being initiated on the basis of the FIR registered against the CMO and the CMS," Principal Secretary (Health) Prashant Trivedi told reporters.
Trivedi's statement came soon after doctors of Uttar Pradesh's Provincial Medical Services (PMS) today threatened to proceed on mass leave to protest the registration of the FIR against members of the fraternity.
"For us it is a report. We will examine it for further action," Trivedi said at a hurriedly convened press briefing here.
The state government today removed District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar as well as Chief Medical Officer Umakant Pandey and Chief Medical Superintendent Akhilesh Agarwal.
Earlier in the day, officials said 49 infants died between July 20 and August 21 in the Farrukhabad district hospital, most of them from "perinatal asphyxia", a condition in which the child cannot breathe properly.
City Magistrate Jaynendra Kumar Jain and SDM Ajit Kumar Singh said a probe found that most deaths were due to breathing problems. They also said in the report that the CMO and the CMS did not cooperate with the investigation.
To a question on the removal of the CMO and the CMS, Trivedi said, "They have been removed for the simple reason that the DM is the head of administration in a district and they should have co-ordinated with the DM."
"If there were any issues, then the same should had been brought to the notice of the administration. What happened actually--medically or technically--will be clear in probe," he said.
On whether the deaths were due to lack of oxygen, he said, "Oxygen is not an issue in the entire episode. I think, of late, we are generating undue sensitivity to oxygen. It has become more of a buzzword."
Trivedi said no official can find the views of a person over telephone and it was not the right way to conduct a magisterial probe. He was referring to the city magistrate contacting the parents and relatives of infants who had died over telephone.
Principal secretary (Information) Awanish Awasthi, who was also present, said, "Everything will be brought out... There seems to be some co-ordination issue among the officers."
He said the DG Health will send a specialised team to investigate and added "no death took place due to lack of oxygen. The matter should not be blown out of proportion".
On the FIR, he said it was lodged and "it very clearly seems to have been lodged when the DM, it seems, did not get the report from the health department..."
The FIR was lodged against CMO, CMS and other doctors but only posts were mentioned and there were no names in the FIR.
It was lodged by the city magistrate last night under IPC sections 176 (legal provisions regarding inquiry by magistrate into cause of death), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 304 (culpable homicide).
UPPMS doctors threaten to go on mass leave to protest FIR
Doctors of Uttar Pradesh's Provincial Medical Services today said they would not report for duty on Tuesday and Wednesday and tender their resignation if the FIR was not withdrawn by September 7.
Members of the PMS held a meeting in Farrukhabad and demanded that the FIR be withdrawn. They threatened to go on mass leave starting tomorrow if their demand was not met.
UPPMS district unit secretary Dr Yogendra Singh said, "The committee comprising the city magistrate and the SDM did not have technical knowledge. The probe report is wrong and it should be withdrawn."
He said the probe committee was a non-technical one and its "fairness and competence" should be probed.
"We have decided to proceed on mass leave on September 5 and 6. If our demands are not met, all the doctors of the district will resign on September 7," he said.
UP PMS Association president Dr Ashok Yadav told PTI in Lucknow: "The report on the basis of which the FIR was filed was prepared by non-technical people. A committee of experts should have been set up. This is an attempt to incite doctors, who are working in adverse conditions."
"The government should recall officers, who did not have any knowledge of probing such cases. They should be properly trained. We are monitoring the situation there and will decide our future course of action," he said.
(With PTI inputs)