It was the mother of all protests! Livid with doctors of SSKM Hospital for delaying planned paediatric surgeries, five mothers took their children out of the hospital and marched straight to chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s Kalighat home on Saturday to demand immediate action.
Hospital sources said the operations got delayed for more than a month because of non-availability of surgical items, such as uro-bags, catheters, bandages and gauge.
“The mothers along with their children rushed to the chief minister’s residence on Saturday keeping all of us in the dark. They were angry because the surgeries were getting delayed. The problem, however, has been solved,” SSKM’s director, Manju Banerjee, told HT on Sunday. “We have asked the doctors to perform the surgeries as soon as possible,” she added.
The breakthrough came after the chief minister, who also holds the health portfolio, called up health secretary RS Shukla and home secretary Malay De to look into the matter.
“The issue was resolved by Trinamool councillor and Indian Medical Association (IMA) state secretary Santanu Sen who was present at the CM’s Kalighat home when the mothers went there. But we are wondering how the police allowed them to go to her residence,” a senior administrative official of SSKM said.
Sources in the state secretariat said the incident could have landed the government in an embarrassing situation had Sen not acted promptly and informed the chief minister about the matter. The councillor sent the mothers back to SSKM assuring immediate help.
“We suspect the hand of a few behind the episode. How did the mothers rush to Kalighat straight from the hospital? The chief minister has asked the health department and the police to inquire into it,” the SSKM official said. Sen refused to comment when HT contacted him on Sunday. “We won’t comment on the issue relating to the delay in performing surgeries. You talk to our director,” Ruchirendra Sarkar, head of paediatric surgery of SSKM, said. Health secretary Shukla was not available for comment.