A rat scratched and bit a newborn baby at the Holy Family Hospital (HFH) on Sunday, for which his relatives blamed the staff on duty. In addition, the ‘death’ of a newborn was initially blamed on the same rat, but senior hospital officials clarified that the deceased baby was stillborn.
Though the baby was not seriously injured, there can be nothing more shocking than a rat biting a newborn, and that too in a hospital, said Muhammad Shakeel, the baby boy’s cousin, while talking to The Express Tribune.
The incident speaks volumes about hygiene in public hospitals and the degree of care newborns receive, said Shakeel.
The negligent attitude of doctors and staff who attended to my aunt is responsible for the injury to the newborn,” added Shakeel, who had brought the expecting mother to HFH from Taxila on Sunday night.
After the delivery, the doctors shifted the mother, Rahila Bibi, to the gynaecology ward and kept the baby in the nursery.
The staff did not hand the baby over to me and demanded his father’s national identity card, Shakeel said. “An attendant [for another child] informed the staff that a rat had scratched and bitten the baby in the nursery.”
HFH Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr Muhammad Fiaz said a four-member inquiry committee comprising Additional MS (AMS) Dr Tariq Masood Niazi, Administration Deputy (MS) Dr Farooq Khasana, AMS Asima Ahsan and Nursing Superintendent Prem Rose would meet on Tuesday to determine if staff negligence led to the injury.
He maintained, however, that contrary to rumour, no baby had died because of injury caused by the rat, saying that a stillbirth was wrongly attributed to the rat.
In response to a question, the MS said fumigation is done at regular intervals.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2012.