A 21-day-old girl died in a West Bengal government-run hospital after a man employed as a cleaner allegedly removed her oxygen mask in a drunken state.
The infant’s death at the Calcutta Medical College in the state capital on December 17 follows more than 45 crib deaths in government-run hospitals in the last week of October.
According to the girl’s family, M Raut, a group-D staff, removed the oxygen mask around 9.30pm despite their objections and this led to her death.
“The cleaner took the mask off when he came to sweep the floor. When we objected, he asked us to keep quiet and said he knew what he was doing.
We could make out that he was drunk. When we saw the baby was having trouble breathing, we went to complain to the nurse, who turned us away,” said Shobha Das, the infant’s mother.
Das said she had taken her daughter to the hospital after she was diagnosed as having a gastritis problem on Wednesday. “She was perfectly all right otherwise.”
The distraught family went to Bowbazar police station to lodge a complaint, but did not do so after police said their complaint would lead to an autopsy. A family member said, “We did not want such a small baby’s body to be cut.”
Calcutta Medical College superintendent and vice-principal Siddhartha Chakraborty said, “I have heard about the incident that took place on Saturday night. The family has complained to the deputy superintendent who was on duty then. We shall inquire further in this regard.”