Chennai/Dharmapuri/Salem (TN), Nov 19: Two more infants, shifted from Dharmapuri Government Hospital to Salem, died today pushing the toll of toddlers to 13, as the opposition parties called for a probe in the incident.
Of the four babies shifted from Dharmapuri on November 17 to Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College Hospital in Salem for want of beds, two died today, its Dean C Mohan said.
"Two of the four infants who were admitted here from government Dharmapuri hospital died today. The underweight babies were suffering from respiratory problems," he said. With toddlers toll mounting, the DMK and BJP slammed Chief Minister O Panneerselvam-led government and demanded immediate measures to save the ailing children.
DMK Chief Karunanidhi accused the AIADMK of waking up to the situation "late" and rejected arguments by Panneerselvam that the children had died of natural causes and there was no medical negligence.
"The government has intervened in this matter after so many deaths and Chief Minister O Panneeselvam is trying to shield the government by claiming that there was no lapse in medical attention," Karunanidhi charged. Tamil Nadu unit BJP President Tamilisai Soundararjan demanded that government bring out a white paper on the issue.
"We cannot accept the claim of Chief Minister that the deaths were due to natural causes. This cannot be brushed aside," Tamilisai said.
DMDK president Vijayakanth who criticised the government's failure to check the deaths, said the incident also exposed the fact that pregnant women were not provided enough nutrition that resulted in low birth weight of infants.
Dharmapuri MP and former Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss today visited the hospital, discussed the situation with doctors while his father PMK Chief Ramadoss alleged that the hospital did not have adequate number of doctors.
Meanwhile, Dean of Dharmapuri Hospital Dr Narayana Babu told PTI that "all the four infants who were on ventilator and incubator support are progressing and responding to treatment." "Infants continue to be admitted in wards and other units like neonatal and paediatric," he said, adding that parents were confident of the best services in the hospital.
Inspections by neonatal expert Dr S Srinivasan and Director of Medical Education, Dr S Geetha Lakshmi continued today as well. Top health officials said, "government is providing the best treatment" and that the issue was being "blown out of proportion" by politicians without "understanding the basic medical management issues and science behind it."