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India Infant Deaths Continue In Bengal Hospitals, Toll Reaches 37 In 5 Days


Apr 3, 2005
Infant deaths continued to haunt the West Bengal government with five more kids dying in a state-run hospital in last 24 hours taking the overall death toll to 37 in last five days.

All new deaths were reported from Burdwan Medical College and Hospital, where three infants died in the paediatric ward and two others in the nursery.

Earlier, 13 infants had lost their lives at the hospital. The hospital authorities had then played down the situation. In fact, they had said that the deaths were normal for this time of the year.

Parents blame hospital authorities
The hospital authorities' indifference has invited angry reactions from relatives of the dead kids.

Nabokumar Das, father of a dead child, said, "Early in the morning we were informed about the death of our child. I strongly believe that the treatment was insufficient."

Infants' deaths in govt hospitals
An alarm was raised as soon as 15 infants died within three days at the only paediatric referral hospital in West Bengal, BC Roy Memorial Hospital in Kolkata. The 300-bed government hospital hit the headlines when 12 infants died within 24 hours last week.

Soon reports of infant deaths at other government hospitals in the state started pouring in. Twelve children died within 24 hours at Burdwan Medical College as well. Five more died on Sunday taking the death toll to 17 in this hospital alone.

Jangipur sub-divisional hospital in Murshidabad district reported on Saturday that seven children had died within 48 hours. All these hospitals have been overcrowded and are often the only ray of hope for critical patients.

Mamata evades questions on issue
Even as the situation spiralled out of control, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her government remained tight-lipped over the continued deaths.

Confronted by the media over the weekend, Banerjee, who also holds the health portfolio, dismissed the queries, and sought to focus on other things.

"I am concentrating on industry now. When I come to the media, I say what I have to. Please don't ask any question on any other topic. Regarding infant death, if you still have some queries, ask my health secretary. Please don't disturb me here," Banerjee said on Sunday.

Infant deaths continue in state
Reports of infant deaths are not new for West Bengal hospitals. BC Roy Hospital has seen the most number of such cases in the past decade. In 2002, at least 30 children died in similar circumstances in a very short period of time. Ten infant deaths were reported in 2006 at the same hospital.

Earlier this year in June, 17 children had died prompting a visit from the chief minister herself. She has sought a report from the health secretary after the latest deaths. The report, to be submitted on Monday, is expected to outline a modification of the referral system in the health sector.


Apr 3, 2005
WB shocker: Acid used for delivery, new born dies

Zeenews Bureau

Murshidabad, West Bengal: In a shocking incident, a new born baby died during delivery when the hospital staff used Carbolic Acid was used in place of antiseptic as disinfectant.

The serious case of medical negligence occurred at the Lalbag Mahakuma Hospital on Wednesday. As per reports, Carbolic Acid was kept in the tray usually meant for antiseptic solutions like Dettol.

Displaying utter disregard to the norms of the profession, the staff, without checking the bottle, dabbed the acid on the child, leading to its death.

Although none of the hospital authorities are saying anything in record, reports said that a three-member committee has been set up to look into the incident.

The incident in Murshidabad comes amid concerns about the condition of the healthcare facilities in the state after over 35 infant deaths were reported at the BC Roy Children's Hospital in Kolkata and the Burdwan Medical College in the past few days.

Meanwhile, reacting to the recent spate of infants' death in the state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today blamed the previous CPM government, saying it did not work but only indulged in politics.

No nurse, no doctors, no facilities were given by the Left government, she added.

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