At least 15 newborns have died at the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH) in upper Assam between November 1 and 6, prompting the state health department to rush a team to investigate the matter, officials said Friday.
The hospital authorities have also formed a committee to look into the matter, they said.
According to JMCH Superintendent Saurav Borkakoti, 15 newborns have died at the special care newborn unit of the hospital between November 1 and 6.
Borkakoti, however, claimed the deaths were not due to medical negligence or neglect of the hospital.
"Sometimes the number of patients coming to the hospital may be large and so the figure of the death of newborns may also be large. It depends on what situation the patients have come to the hospital. They may have come with prolonged labour, with low birth weight. In such circumstances, those newborns may die," Borkakoti said.
He said ever since the civil hospital was converted into a full-fledged medical college and hospital, the number of patients has soared, exceeding the available 141 bed SNCU capacity. This has forced the hospital to sometimes accommodate more babies, he said.
The hospital has formed a six-member committee to probe the deaths, Borkakoti said.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters that a team of experts, including the director of medical education assisted by UNICEF and a paediatric doctor from Gauhati Medical College and Hospital along with another doctor of Assam Medical College and Hospial, Dibrugarh have proceeded to Jorhat to investigate the deaths.