Guwahati: At least eight newborns died in a medical college in Assam's Barpeta district in 24 hours -- five on Wednesday night and three on Thursday, a hospital official said.
The deaths were reported from the Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital in Barpeta.
The college's Principal-cum-Chief Superintendent Dilip Kumar Dutta on Thursday, however, denied any medical negligence, attributing the deaths to birth asphyxia, a medical condition resulting from deprivation of oxygen to a newborn during the birth process and lasting long enough to cause physical harm, usually to the brain.
"The babies were born with severe low weight like 1 kg, 2 kg, 2.2 kg. The mothers were admitted later then expected in the hospital, leading to the situation. Unfortunately we could not save them," said Dutta told IANS.
State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the babies were in sick newborn care unit and received proper medical attention but it was the critical nature of the cases that led to death.
"Two mothers were of 20 years of age," he said, adding that the college is witnessing a decrease in Infant Mortality Rate this year compared to last year.
The Minister further said that the Assam government has sent the director medical education and consultant from UNICEF to audit the death.
The medical college and hospital is the newest addition to the medical education scenario in the state. Inaugurated in 2011, it is the fifth medical college in Assam.