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Protests at Gopalganj hospital after dead infant ‘comes to life’

Relatives say infant declared dead by a medical staffer at the Gopalganj district hospital began crying while being taken for cremation, but succumbed soon afterwards. Doctors deny allegations of medical negligence.

india Updated: Jun 28, 2018 08:44 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar hospital,Gopalganj district hospital,Protest at Bihar hospital
Vidya Devi, a 30-year-old resident of Pithouri village in Bihar’s Gopalganj, had delivered the infant at a private clinic late on Tuesday evening.(Representative image)

A one-day-old infant declared dead by a medical staffer at the Gopalganj district hospital “came to life” even as it was being taken for cremation on Wednesday, relatives have claimed.

However, the newborn died while being rushed back to the hospital, they added.

This contention, however, has been rejected by medical officials. Gopalganj civil surgeon Dr AK Choudhary termed the controversy as the product of a fertile imagination, and maintained that the infant had died after it was referred to the Patna Medical College Hospital – located about 150 km away – for enhanced treatment. “The infant died before the ambulance could arrive,” he said.

Dr Choudhary’s version of events was contested by the infant’s relatives, who said the infant was not being referred to any other medical facility. They protested in front of the hospital, alleging medical negligence.

Sources said Vidya Devi, a 30-year-old resident of Pithouri village, had delivered the infant at a private clinic late on Tuesday evening. Taking the medical condition of the child into consideration, the woman doctor concerned referred it to the Gopalganj district hospital.

According to relatives, none of the doctors were present when the father, Neeraj Prasad (35), brought it to the hospital early on Wednesday. They alleged that the nursing staffer on duty initially claimed that the child was dead, but admitted it in the sick newborn care unit after being paid a sum of Rs 400. Later, around 3 am, she pronounced the child dead and asked the parents to take its body.

It was while the body was being carried away for cremation that relatives reportedly heard it crying. They rushed it back to the hospital, only to have the medical officials reconfirm that it was dead.

Hospital deputy superintendent Dr PC Prabhat admitted that there some chaos at the hospital, but did not elaborate. No police case had been lodged until evening.

“I am not aware of any such incident. I have been away from the district headquarters because I have been travelling,” said Gopalganj superintendent of police Rashid Zaman.

However, district magistrate Animesh Kumar Parashar has asked an additional district magistrate (ADM) to probe the incident and submit a report within two days. “I have asked my ADM to record the parents’ statements and inquire into the incident. We will take action against the hospital authorities if we find any lapses on their part,” he said.

Dr Choudhary said a post-mortem examination was not warranted as this was not a medico-legal case. He, however, confirmed receiving a complaint in this regard from the infant’s family.

Prasad’s mother, Umravati Devi, said the infant was cremated at 4.30 pm on Wednesday.

First Published: Jun 27, 2018 18:22 IST