A nine-day-old baby died at a government hospital in Bihar’s Darbhanga district on Tuesday after being bitten by rats, his family claimed. The district administration has ordered an investigation into the matter, PTI reported. The Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital has denied the allegation.

The baby was taken to the neo-natal intensive care of the hospital on Monday, but died the next morning. “We were shocked to find that rats were trying to nibble at the hands and legs of my newborn during a visit to the NICU late on Monday,” the baby’s father said. “There was no nurse or doctor on duty. We immediately informed hospital officials but they informed us that the child was already dead.”

The baby’s family met the district magistrate and demanded action against the hospital. They claimed there were injuries on the baby’s limbs that were bleeding.

Dr Om Prakash, in charge of the hospital’s paediatric department, admitted that rats had created a menace at the hospital, but claimed the baby had died due to a “serious heart ailment”. “He was almost brain dead as oxygen supply to his brain was not normal at the time of the birth,” he told News18. “Despite that, we tried to normalise the baby after he was admitted here. However, we could not revive him as he continued to face difficulty in breathing and died around 4.30 in the morning.”

District Magistrate Chandrashekhar Prasad Singh has set up a three-member committee to look into the incident and submit a report. State Health Minister Mangal Pandey told The New Indian Express: “I spoke to the hospital authorities, and they said the bandages were put because of the injections the infant had been administered.”

In August, the Bihar government was severely criticised after photos and videos showing a flooded Nalanda Medical College and Hospital in Patna surfaced on social media. A video showed fish swimming in water that had purportedly entered the facility’s Intensive Care Unit.