In another instance of medical negligence in West Bengal, a woman who delivered on Monday lost consciousness after she was administered acid instead of an anti-septic liquid by the hospital staff.
The acid had been applied to her private parts after Sikha Bibi, 32, had just delivered a male baby, who died on Monday itself. The death of the baby, however, has no connection with the acid incident.
This comes just after 30 newborns died in three state-run hospitals in the past nine days and both the Centre and the state government found the hospital staff in each case to be blameless.
The Murshidabad district health department has ordered a probe into the incident.
Acting chief medical officer of health (CMOH) Birendra Prasad Shaw confirmed acid was applied to the woman. "The health staff applied muriatic acid instead of Savlon, an antiseptic liquid, by mistake," he said.
Sikha Bibi, a resident of the district (200 km north of Kolkata), said while lying on the hospital bed: "After the delivery, employees of the hospital came to wash me with some liquid. As soon as they started applying the liquid, I felt a burning sensation … I lost my consciousness."
"After around four hours, I regained consciousness. Later my private parts and the lower abdomen turned black," she added. CMOH Dr Syad Shaja-han Siraj said from New Delhi: "I have got the information. An inquiry will be conducted and stern action will be taken against the guilty."
The Murshidabad incident came to light a few hours before CM Mamata Banerjee, who also holds the health portfolio, defended the department on the issue of infant deaths last week.
"As many as 40,000 babies died every year in the state during the Left regime," Banerjee said at a TMC function.