18 babies die in WB govt hospital, probe ordered

Eighteen babies died at a premier state-run children hospital here, triggering protests by locals and relatives who alleged negligence by doctors even as the West Bengal government ordered an inquiry.

Kolkata: Eighteen babies died at a
premier state-run children hospital here, triggering protests
by locals and relatives who alleged negligence by doctors even
as the West Bengal government ordered an inquiry.

Mrinal Kanti Chatterjee, principal of the B C Roy
Children`s Hospital told agency that 18 babies died in the past
48 hours.
The health department also confirmed the deaths.

Superintendent D Pal said most of the babies were
either pre-mature or suffering from septicaemia or low-birth
weight problems and were brought in a moribund stage to the
hospital, the largest paediatric referral in the eastern
region.

Aggrieved over the deaths, family members and local
people barged into the hospital`s main building alleging
medical negligence, police said.

The agitators also blocked the road in front of the
hospital before being chased away by policemen.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered a probe.

"The inquiry committee, which has been formed with two
doctors from outside, has been asked to ascertain if there was
any lapse on our part and submit a report within 24 hours,"
she said.
"The babies were referred from hospitals in South 24
Parganas, Nadia and East Midnapore districts when they were
near death," she told reporters.

Of the babies, one was referred by a reputed heart
care institute and two had heart trouble, she said.

"Two babies had heart trouble. I have ordered a probe
and asked the authorities to submit a report to me," she said.

"If any medical negligence is proved in the case,
nobody will be spared and we will not see any political
colour," she warned.

Banerjee noted that once 75 babies had died at the
same hospital and the authorities had claimed that it was
`normal`.

She said she wanted to visit the hospital, but
did not do so fearing it might hinder the treatment of the
children.

Earlier in September 2002, there were protests in the
same hospital when 14 children died of broncho-pneumonia and
gastro-enteritis.

PTI

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