The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday issued notice to the West Bengal government seeking a report on the 18 infant deaths at the BC Roy Memorial Hospital for Children (BCRMHC) in east Kolkata on Wednesday and Thursday.
Taking cognisance of media reports and a complaint, the NHRC has asked the state health secretary to conduct a detailed investigation into the matter and submit the report to NHRC within two weeks.
The NHRC observed, “Paediatric care is one of the cardinal requirements of infant health and any negligence by public servants or doctors is detrimental to the right to health of the concerned. The allegations, if true, amount to serious violation of human rights.”
Meanwhile, the state government clarified that the mortality rate at the BC Roy Hospital, the only referral hospital for children in West Bengal, was well within limits.
Doctors at BCRMHC pointed out that four to six children die every day at the hospital. The figure, they say, is normal given the large number of terminally ill patients. At least 500 patients are admitted to the hospital everyday, with another 1,000 visiting the outdoor daily.
Health secretary Manabendranath Roy said, “We have received a report from the hospital. Probe will be conducted to find out if there was any negligence that could have avoided the deaths.”