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Three dismissed in baby swapping case

May 14, 2003 14:29 IST

The Andhra Pradesh government has ordered the dismissal of three employees of the government maternity hospital in Hyderabad for their involvement in a baby swapping case.

Staff nurse Swarna Mary, health assistant Suryakala and ward boy Surendra Raju were arrested by CID sleuths on Tuesday.
 
The three were on duty at the hospital's nursery between April 17 and 24, when a male child was swapped with a baby girl.
 
Nazeer Ahmed, husband of Mahmooda Begum, from whom the male child was recovered, has also been taken into custody.

Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu this morning chaired a meeting at his residence to discuss the baby swapping case.
 
The chief minister has instructed senior health officials to put in place a fool-proof mechanism to prevent such incidents.

The government is also contemplating disciplinary action against the hospital's superintendent, senior doctors and other staff.

"We received the inquiry committee report on Tuesday. There is negligence on the part of the hospital authorities. We are contemplating action against those responsible for the lapses. We will be discussing the matter with the health minister [Dr Kodela Siva Prasada Rao] before a final decision is taken," M Chaya Ratan, Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Department, told rediff.com on Wednesday.

Maternity Hospital Superintendent Dr M Umamaheshwar Rao, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Dr Pratibha, Professor of Paediatrics Dr Chandrakala, duty doctors and assistant professors of paediatrics, Dr Vanamala and Dr Lakshmi Nalini, are among those facing action.

The inquiry panel has faulted the hospital superintendent for not carrying out an in-depth inquiry into the incident and ruling out any child swapping initially.

Latha Reddy, who had delivered a male child, was handed over a female baby even though documents clearly showed that a male baby was born to her.
   
The panel found that Latha's delivery was handled by the junior-most post-graduate student, even though two duty doctors and senior post-graduates were free at that time.

The report said the staff in charge of the nursery did not supervise the functioning of the staff nurses. This resulted in simple tasks such as bathing the babies being delegated to dayas and other class IV employees.

With PTI inputs

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad