Two days after the BC Roy Hospital in Kolkata reported the deaths of 11 infants in 24 hours, the West Bengal government-run Burdwan Medical College and Hospital (BMCH) also reported 12 infant deaths.
All the babies who died in BMCH between Wednesday and Thursday were aged between 3 hours and 10 months. Doctors said most of them had very low birth weight, and others developed diseases such as septicemia. “There is nothing abnormal. Every day there are four to five crib deaths here,” said deputy superintendent of the hospital Tapas Ghosh.
As the news spread, chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who is also in charge of the health ministry, ordered an inquiry. A two-member team comprising state health commissioner Dilip Ghosh and director of medical education Susanta Bandopadhyay rushed to the hospital, and after a 25-minute inquiry, gave a verbal clean chit to the hospital.
In a press release sent late on Friday night, the government said it is awaiting the report of the expert committee.
The experts also reportedly instructed hospital authorities that none other than principal of the medical college would speak to the press. “The media is blowing things out of proportion. Such deaths are natural. Not a single parent has lodged any complaint with the hospital authorities,” said Bandopadhyay.
Three ministers of Banerjee’s cabinet—law minister Moloy Ghatak, technical education minister Rabiranjan Chattopadhyay and agriculture minister Rabindranath Bhattacharya— visited the hospital in September and October and promised improvement. | Deepening Crisis