Even as four more babies died in the B.C. Roy Post-Graduate Institute of Paediatric Sciences here, raising the number of crib deaths there to 17, another 12 died in the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital in Bardhaman.In neither of the hospitals was there any report of medical negligence resulting in the deaths, the authorities claimed.
But the high incidence of deaths, over a span of four days, has raised fresh questions on the state of paediatric care in State hospitals. Several measures have been taken to upgrade infrastructure in West Bengal but health authorities admit that a lot more needs to be done. The administration in both the Kolkata and Burdwan hospitals says the institutions are lacking in infrastructure. Some of the babies referred to the B.C. Roy hospital are admitted in a very critical condition, doctors point out. Five or six children die almost every day in the State's biggest referral hospital for children, they add.
Clean chit to doctors
State health authorities have given a clean chit to the doctors at the B.C. Roy hospital following Thursday's probe into the 13 deaths since Tuesday.
Director of Medical Education Susanta Banerjee, accompanied by senior officials of the Health department, reviewed the situation at the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital on Friday.
“There is no case of any medical negligence; neither has there been any complaint from the parties [guardians],” Bardhaman District Magistrate Onkar Singh Meena told The Hindu over telephone shortly after a meeting with the authorities and paediatricians of the hospital.
“Six out of the seven in the paediatric unit were neo-natal babies and underweight — between 750 gm and 1.2 kg. Four of them had been referred to the hospital from elsewhere. Five others who died were all infants admitted to the baby nursery,” said hospital deputy superintendent Tapash Kumar Ghosh.
Pointing out that infrastructure in the hospital was inadequate to cope with the admissions, he said that on Thursday when 12 babies died, 154 were admitted to the 60-bed paediatric ward, while 36 were there in the 20-bed baby nursery.
As for the high incidence of deaths over a 24-hour period till Thursday at the hospital, Mr. Meena said: “It is just coincidence.”