Protest held in 3 Kolkata hospitals against patients' deaths

Police said the family members of a two-year-old girl demonstrated at the Mukundapur unit of a private hospital following her death this morning alleging maltreatment and negligence and demanding action against those responsible.

Kolkata: There was trouble in three prominent private hospitals in the city today over the death of three patients, including a child, as their families demonstrated blaming them for medical negligence.

Police said the family members of a two-year-old girl demonstrated at the Mukundapur unit of a private hospital following her death this morning alleging maltreatment and negligence and demanding action against those responsible.

They also had a heated exchange with the hospital CEO and the paediatric unit head.

The child had been admitted with acute respiratory distress with cough and hoarseness and high fever, Jadavpur police, to whom the family complained, said.

"She was admitted to the paediatric ward of the hospital on Monday and her condition improved this morning. But she was injected some medicine following which her condition deteriorated. We were told that she needed oxygen but no oxygen cylinder was provided following which our baby died," a family member of the girl said.

Countering the charges, an AMRI, Mukundapur, spokesperson said that proper treatment had been undertaken and there was no medical negligence on the part of the hospital.

We have set up an investigation committee to look into today's incident. The unit head of AMRI Mukundapur, Jayanti Chatterjee, has been asked to go on leave till investigations are over, a statement issued by the hospital authorities said.

"We demand an autopsy of the deceased to examine the exact cause of death or any latent congenital defect which was not mentioned by the patient party at the time of admission."

The hospital also lodged a complaint with the police alleging physical harassment of paediatric unit head who is a woman and attempted vandalism of the hospital premises by the child's family members.

There was agitation at another private hospital in the city following the death of a middle aged man who had been taken to it with respiratory complaints and was not allowed admission.

The man's family alleging medical negligence said they had reached the hospital with the patient in an ambulance around 6.45 am but he was left waiting unattended despite repeated requests to the hospital authorities for admission.

"No doctor came to see the patient. And when one doctor came at around 8 am he was declared dead. Who will be held responsible for his death ? We want justice," a relative said.

The man's relatives lodged a complaint with Phoolbagan police station.

A spokesperson of Apollo Gleneagles denied the allegations and said that doctors attended the patient but "the examination of pulse showed no heart beat and no lung sound was audible".

"Accordingly, at 8.12 am the patient was declared dead due to sudden cardio respiratory arrest," he said.

The spokesperson said the hospital was experiencing very heavy emergency load since yesterday and it was immediately communicated to the patient's relatives that no beds were available and the emergency was full with all the doctors being extremely busy.

In the third incident family members of a road accident victim put up road blockade in Alipore area of the city alleging medical negligence by a private hospital in which he died and demanding investigation.

The man died last night at the hospital, where he was under treatment since Monday.

His family members alleged that the hospital authorities had not mentioned the cause of his death in any document issued by it.

"How can the hospital authorities be so casual despite the chief minister's instructions to be a bit sensitive. "We want a probe against the hospital authority's negligent attitude," a kin of the dead man said.

No statement was given by the hospital.

The West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Act, 2017 was passed last year to bring in transparency, end patients' harassment and medical negligence and regulate functioning of private hospitals and nursing homes.

The Act provides for up to three years of imprisonment and trials under the IPC for offenders and fines up to Rs 50 lakh in case of death of patients because of medical negligence. 

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