ISLAMABAD: A three-day-old baby boy, Mohammad Taha, died at the Poly Clinic Hospital at 5 am on Friday, but the cause of death is disputed.
Rukhsana, Taha’s aunt, accused a nurse of administering a wrong injection to the infant, accusing her of his death. On the other hand, Dr Sharif Astori, spokesman Poly Clinic, said, “The baby was diagnosed with a fever and cyanosis, which led to his death.” He added that Taha was kept in NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) where he was on a ventilator and his blood pressure and body temperature was monitored.
Cyanosis is a condition characterised by the skin becoming blue because of deoxygenated haemoglobin in the blood. Shabana Hussain, the baby’s aunt told The Express Tribune that the Dr Shahnaz Wajid had told the mother that he was perfectly fine and was born healthy. Farzana, Taha’s mother, said, “My son was my first child and doctors told me he was perfectly fine.” Dr Aftab, Taha’s doctor in the NICU, contradicted the claims by sayin , “The baby was born underweight, at 2 kg or about 4.4 pounds, and had multiple problems, including an infection since birth.
The injection the nurse gave him was an antibiotic and that did not cause his death.” He claimed Taha was under strict observation since the day he was born and the parents were aware of this fact. He said “I cannot tell you the exact cause of his death because I was not present at that time and Dr Naveed was in charge.” Dr Naveed Butt said she was not authorised to comment on the incident and insisted that Dr Sharif Astori, the spokesperson of the hospital, would give a formal statement.
In either case, the family members claim they were deceived by the doctors and administration of the hospital, because they were told the baby was perfectly fine. Narrating the incident, Farzana, mother of the child said that on Thursday, a nurse came to her room in the afternoon and took Taha from her, saying he needed an injection. Unaware of the medical condition and requirement of the baby, Farzana did not question the nurse and handed him over to her. When the nurse returned to the room with Taha, he had a cannula attached to his hand.
“I noticed he was occasionally shivering and was not as responsive as before,” Farzana said. Then, around 6pm, the same nurse came and took Taha again, saying he needed another injection. However, this time the nurse did not bring Taha back and that was the last time Farzana saw her son alive. At about 8pm, Rukhsana, Farzana’s youngest sister, came to visit. When Rukhsana questioned her about the baby’s whereabouts, she learned that he had not been brought back since 6pm.
Rukhsana went looking for her nephew and finally discovered he was in the NICU. Meanwhile, Farzana’s other sister, Shabana, had also come to the hospital. “The hospital administration did not let us enter the NICU; that is when we forcefully went inside because we were suspicious that something was wrong,” Rukhsana said. The doctor(s) and nurses kept telling the three sisters the baby is fine and he is being taken care of, Rukhsana explained. She accused the “careless nurse” of giving Taha the wrong injection, which led to his death.
“The doctors and nurses are so ignorant and careless. The baby died at 5am and they informed us at 9am that our nephew had passed away,” Rukhsana said bitterly. The family does not know the name of the nurse who took Taha, and Farzana only recognises her by face. The Express Tribune tried to trace the accused nurse, but hospital administration did not reveal her name. The three sisters, Rukhsana, Shahbana and Farzana, work as beauticians at Daniella Beauty Parlour in Islamabad.
They said they are in direct contact with senior government officials and that they will take this issue up with them. “We were deceived by this hospital and we will make sure the person responsible [for Taha’s death] is punished for this brutal act.”
Published in the Express Tribune, May 15th, 2010.