FIROZABAD, Uttar Pradesh — Journalists in Firozabad say that they have been barred from entering the wards of the district hospital where children are being hospitalized amid what doctors here say is a Dengue and viral fever outbreak.
Prashant Upadhyaya of News Nation said that the ban came into place shortly after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited the hospital on 30 August. Rohit Tiwari of Hindustan said that guards had been posted to prevent journalists from going into the wards. This journalist too was not granted permission to visit the wards. Prior to the bar, journalists had captured how children were sharing beds at the district hospital.
Journalists are allowed to stay on the ground floor of the pediatrics building and interact with Sangita Aneja, principal of the Firozabad government medical college.
At least 51 children have died from the Dengue outbreak, according to the state government, but local observers say the figure could be higher.
On Tuesday, Aneja responded to concerns about children with low platelets being prematurely discharged from the hospital, the number of beds, missing blood reports of patients, and rude behaviour of the hospital staff.
In response to the allegation about children with low platelets being discharged from the hospital, Aneja told reporters, “Their platelets are okay. The pediatricians and their team are deciding. They are not forcing them. They have recovered and that is why they are discharging them. Patients think that let us be a little better, a little more. They want to remain more. But it is the team that is deciding.”
Parents have told us that the hospital was releasing their children when the platelet count was as low as 40,000-50,000. A 150,000 to 400,000 platelet count is considered ideal. A doctor at the district hospital has told us that children who were in the “recovery” phase were being sent home because the hospital needed the beds and they were deemed at risk of catching other infections.
On whether the hospital was able to cope with the number of cases, Aneja said that the pediatrics ward had been fitted with 50 new beds, 100 beds were placed in a new building, and 100 more were being arranged.
On allegations about missing blood reports of patients, Aneja said, “They are told that reports will reach your ward. The sister or the ward boy will take it. But they are in apprehension. It is not their fault. So they stand there and some confusion happens. Otherwise, it is not as if anyone’s report is lost.”
Patients have spoken to us about missing reports.
On concerns about the behaviour of the hospital staff towards the patients and their attendants, Aneja said, “We keep teaching everyone. There is some young blood. Doctors do get angry. That is wrong. Time and again, there is counseling that the patient is very worried and they should behave well.”