The West Bengal government gave a clean chit to the BC Roy Post Graduate Institute of Pediatric Science in east Kolkata where 11 newborns died in 24 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday.
"We don’t find any lapse or medical negligence on the part of the hospital authorities," said Sushanta Banerjee, director of medical education, after the state’s largest referral hospital for children submitted its report to the government.
“There is nothing abnormal in 11 newborns dying in 24 hours,” said prof Mrinalkanti Das, head of the pediatric medicine department, who headed the three-member probe panel.
The families of patients have, however, accused the hospital staff of negligence. On Wednesday, family members of a six-month-old baby boy Abir Mondal from Kaikhali, who died at the hospital, demonstrated and blocked the road.
Mrinal Chatterjee, principal of the institute, told HT, “Many critical cases come from remote villages. Often they die of severe infections on the way. The referral system of sending patients from districts should be streamlined.”
“The average mortality rate in our hospital is four to five every day,” he added.
However, a doctor of the same hospital told HT, on conditions of anonymity, that there was a shortage of junior doctors who provide the crucial initial treatment to patients.
“We need at least 15 junior doctors and 10 medical officers more,” said the doctor. The sudden spate of deaths is not new to this hospital. On June 28, 18 children, including newborns, died within 48 hours. The incident had rocked the nation, but a two-member enquiry committee had absolved doctors and nurses from charges of negligence then, too. In August 2002, 31 children died in five days, in the same hospital.
The institute does not have basic infrastructure like CT scan, MRI, blood bank, adequate ambulances, indoor units etc.