A severe shortage of nurses and doctors coupled with lack of adequate facilities at the State-run Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital resulted in two ante-natal deaths on Thursday night.

Although doctors attributed the deaths to complications that the expectant mothers, Nazeema Parveen (25) and Amudha (28), had developed in the final days of their pregnancy, relatives of the patients alleged they did not get timely medical attention.

Sources said at least two similar cases were reported in the past four days. “I also lost my baby two days ago. The doctor said the operation theatre (OT) was occupied and I had to wait for my turn. But by the time I was taken to the OT, it was too late,” said Sultana, a Shatabnagar resident, who is still recuperating at the hospital. “Although my daughter was crying in pain, the doctor refused to take her into the emergency operation theatre saying there was still time. They asked to arrange for blood and we got it. Around 2 a.m. they asked us to take the patient to Vani Vilas. But how could we take her in that pain. By the time she got attention, the baby had died,” alleged Gulab Jaan, Ms. Parveen’s mother.

Her husband, Syed Afroz, alleged that although the doctors knew that the foetus had died, they had not informed him till Friday morning.

However, a senior doctor said the baby died of meconium aspiration around the time of delivery.

“Amudha (37) had pre-eclampsia in which the patient develops high blood pressure and swelling of limbs apart from renal problems around the time of delivery. The foetus could not be saved because of these problems,” the doctor said.

With 135 stipendiary nurses working at the hospital abstaining from work following their strike, the hospital has been managing with just 52 staff nurses.