World News

China hospital bosses fired in new baby death scandal

BEIJING (Reuters) - Nine Chinese hospital officials have been fired, including the president and a vice president, after eight newborn babies died from infection, state media said on Tuesday in the latest health scandal to hit the country.

The No. 1 Hospital, affiliated with the medical school of Xi’an Jiaotong University in northwest Shaanxi province, had compensated parents of the babies who died last month, but the infants’ deaths were kept quiet for days.

Doctors who treated the newborns were suspended from work, pending investigation, Xinhua news agency said.

“The eight babies died between September 5 and 15 of a hospital-acquired infection. Their deaths were not reported to health authorities until too late,” Xinhua said.

“The deaths triggered widespread anger after being revealed to the public September 25.”

The hospital refused to comment, saying it would give a formal reply to the media at “some other time,” Xinhua said.

Health authorities blamed the accident on the hospital’s lax management, inefficient execution of regulations and irresponsible medical staff.

The hospital, one of the biggest in northwest China, said on its website it launched a safety overhaul on September 27.

China is battling a scandal over tainted infant milk formula that has crowded hospitals with close to 13,000 children suffering kidney problems and other complications.

Four have died from the milk poisoning, which a dairy company and local officials did not report to senior officials and to the public for months.

Reporting by Nick Macfie; Editing by Valerie Lee