IN­FANT TER­RI­BLE

Ten in­fants die in a Kolkata hos­pi­tal. Twelve ba­bies die in a Bur­d­wan hos­pi­tal. When re­minded, Ma­mata is ‘ir­ri­tated’.

India Today - - NATION - By Partha Das­gupta

Ten in­fants died at the B.C. Roy Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Kolkata, West Bengal’s only pae­di­atric re­fer­ral hos­pi­tal, on Oc­to­ber 26. Twenty-one in­fants had ear­lier died in a span of 48 hours in the hos­pi­tal be­tween June 27 and 28. On Oc­to­ber 31, a baby died af­ter birth be­cause car­bolic acid was used in­stead of det­tol to dis­in­fect dur­ing de­liv­ery at the Lal­bag sub-di­vi­sional Govern­ment Hos­pi­tal in Mur­shid­abad. On Oc­to­ber 29, 12 ba­bies died at the Bur­d­wan Med­i­cal Col­lege and Hos­pi­tal.

B.C. Roy Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal au­thor­i­ties main­tained that there was noth­ing un­usual about the deaths. Hos­pi­tal head Mri­nal Kanti Chat­topad­hyay said the crib deaths were due to the “crit­i­cal con­di­tion of the ba­bies when they are ad­mit­ted”. The 360-bed hos­pi­tal, he added, is ille­quipped to han­dle the av­er­age 50 ad­mis­sions a day. “At least half the ba­bies ad­mit­ted to our hos­pi­tal are

B.C. ROY CHIL­DREN’S HOS­PI­TAL AU­THOR­I­TIES SAID THE DEATHS WEREN’T UN­USUAL.

AWOMAN LEAVES THE

B.C. ROYCHILDREN’S HOS­PI­TAL IN KOLKATA

WITH HER CHILD re­ferred by district hos­pi­tals when lit­tle can be done to save them,” he said. Ex­plain­ing the Bur­d­wan deaths, Ta­pas Ku­mar Ghosh, deputy su­per­in­ten­dent of Bur­d­wan Med­i­cal Col­lege and Hos­pi­tal, said the in­fants that died were suf­fer­ing from jaun­dice, en­cephali­tis and sep­ticemia and were se­verely un­der­weight.

The spate of deaths shows that health­care in state govern­ment hos­pi­tals con­tin­ues to re­main in a sorry shape. Chief Min­is­ter Ma­mata Ban­er­jee had rushed to the B.C. Roy Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal soon af­ter the June deaths and promptly promised new equip­ment and in­fra­struc­ture. Apart from a state-of-the-art 40bed Sick Neona­tal Care Unit that is ready to func­tion from Novem­ber, noth­ing has ma­te­ri­alised.

The National Com­mis­sion for Pro­tec­tion of Child Rights ( NCPCR) on Oc­to­ber 31 sought de­tails about the in­fant deaths from the state govern­ment. “It is a mat­ter of grave con­cern that so many in­fants died,” NCPCR mem­ber Luv Verma said. Quizzed about the tragedies, Ban­er­jee, who is also the health min­is­ter, brusquely ticked off jour­nal­ists, say­ing, “Do not ir­ri­tate me.”

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