Senior health official dies of Covid-19 in West Bengal
Dasgupta, 60, was in-charge of the state’s central medical store. He was admitted to the hospital on April 18, a day after his samples tested positive, and had been on ventilator since then. His wife is also battling Covid-19.Updated: Apr 26, 2020, 16:26 IST
West Bengal recorded the first case of a senior health official dying after being infected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) when Biplab Kanti Dasgupta, assistant director of health services, died at a private hospital early on Sunday.
Dasgupta, 60, was in-charge of the state’s central medical store. He was admitted to the hospital on April 18, a day after his samples tested positive, and had been on ventilator since then. His wife is also battling Covid-19.
Condoling his death, chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “We have lost Dr Biplab Kanti Dasgupta, Assistant Director, Health Services, West Bengal, in the early hours of today. He was Assistant Director of Health Services, Central Medical Stores. We are deeply pained with his untimely demise.”
In another tweet, she said, “His sacrifice for the cause of ailing humanity will ever be in our hearts and will make our COVID warriors fight the deadly virus with even greater determination. My heartfelt condolence to Dr Dasgupta’s bereaved family members and colleagues.”
Following his death, Dasgupta’s colleagues remembered his last social media post on Facebook, dated April 9, which had said, “Trust god even if the answer is ‘wait’.”
In a statement, the West Bengal Doctors’ Forum said, “This is the first reported death of a member of our medical fraternity in the state, who was tested positive for Covid-19…It is pertinent to note here that over the last few weeks, more and more healthcare workers are diagnosed with Covid-19, some of them asymptomatic, while several others are in quarantine.
“We urge the health and administrative authorities to proactively look into the matter as it is a matter of grave concern. With limited resources at disposal, we cannot afford to have a situation where a shortage of healthcare providers poses a threat to delivery of care.”
The forum requested all doctors in West Bengal to observe two minutes’ silence at 11 am on Monday to pay respect to the state’s “first Covid-19 martyr among healthcare professionals”. The number of health care staff affected in West Bengal was not immediately available.
On social media, people demanded a state funeral for Dasgupta.
“Dasgupta, who contracted Covid-19 while being on duty, has died. Let us demand a state funeral. No stigma please!” wrote retired civil servant Dinabandhu Bhattacharya, and many netizens supported his demand.
According to the Union health ministry, a total of 611 persons have tested positive for Covid-19 in West Bengal, of whom 105 have recovered. Though 57 persons who tested positive had died till Friday, the state has attributed only 18 deaths to Covid-19 and the rest to severe co-morbidity.