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Burdwan baby toll mounts

Burdwan, Oct. 24: Six more children died at the Burdwan Medical College Hospital, taking the toll to 25 since Saturday.

Minister of state for health Pratyush Mukherjee said the government is yet to receive the inquiry report from director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee, who was rushed to the hospital on Tuesday. The preliminary report by the hospital authorities had said most of the dead children were admitted in critical conditions. They found no fault on the part of the doctors or other medical staff.

The principal of the medical college, Bijoy Mukherjee, said: “The villagers mostly call untrained nurses for delivery of their babies. As a result, the new borns contract severe infections and they are brought to the hospital in critical conditions.”

According to the hospital’s records, 23 babies had died in August and 93 in September. The figure rose further in October. Eighty-four children died at the hospital till Thursday noon.

Bijoy Mukherjee said around 190 children are treated at the 60-bed children’s wing at any point in time. “We have to keep three babies in a single crib due to such overcrowding. We just cannot refuse admission to babies brought to the hospital in critical conditions.”

But the hospital records contradict the principal. In August and September, on an average, 110 babies had shared the 60 cots. At present, 112 babies are in the hospital, and not 190.

The sabhadhipati of the Burdwan zilla parishad, Ramakrishna Banerjee, said: “The sub-divisional hospitals send the babies to the district hospital to avoid responsibility, so the rush.”

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