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Tetanus claims another child

Raiganj, Sept. 6: Another infant died of tetanus last night, confirming Uttar Dinajpur district health officials’ fears that the disease could be spreading among “vaccinated children” at the “overburdened and ill-equipped” Raiganj Sub-divisional Hospital.

Three-year-old Rajmani Sutradhar died late last night, barely 24 hours after the disease claimed nine-day-old Samar Roy.

Rajmani, a resident of Debinagar locality in Raiganj, had cut her leg after she fell from a bicycle on August 31.

Her uncle Arjun Sutradhar blamed the hospital authorities for his niece’s death.

“Though Rajmani was admitted around 8 am yesterday, none of the doctors came to examine her for four hours. A doctor made a brief appearance around noon, did a perfunctory check-up and prescribed three injections,” Arjun said.

“However, the injections failed to make any impact. She continued to writhe in pain and suffered periodic convulsions through the afternoon. The pain intensified in the evening and she succumbed around 11 pm, without any proper health care and attention,” he alleged.

Still numb from the shock, the child’s mother Dulali tried to recount the “shoddy treatment meted out at the hospital”. “Perhaps, the tragedy could have been averted had the doctors and nurses shown a little more urgency. Despite our repeated requests, she was left to die on the verandah — outside the children’s ward — where another newborn had died the previous day. Her condition aggravated because she was not shifted out of that infectious spot,” she said, fighting tears.

As the tetanus menace threatened to spin out of control, parents and guardians of other children undergoing treatment at the “overcrowded” ward expressed grave concern over the “crisis”.

“My child, who has been suffering from jaundice, is admitted here for the past three days. Though the infant (Rajmani) died last night, hospital authorities did not bother to remove the body till 10 this morning,” complained Rajesh Burman. Neither was any effort made to “disinfect the verandah” before the morning visiting hours.

Hospital superintendent Pradip Bhattacharya, however, scoffed at the allegations.

and defended his staff.

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