The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Burglars log out Medical College

The patients wait anxiously for their pathological reports, while doctors wait in vain for patient profiles stored in the computers. Work at the biochemistry department of Calcutta Medical College and Hospital has come to a standstill, following a burglary early on Tuesday.

The department, located on the ground floor of the ‘green building’, was cleaned out by a group of burglars, who opened the locks with duplicate keys and fled with the central computer, keyboard and other electronic and pathological gadgets.

“Thefts like this have become commonplace in the hospital, but this time, it has cost us dear, since everything is computerised these days. Entire investigation reports and patient profiles of more than a year, which were stored in the computer, have been lost,” hospital superintendent Kusum Kanan Adhikari told Metro on Wednesday.

The central computer had all relevant data and latest investigation procedures and parameters stored in its databank. As a result, all pathological tests referred by various departments, like haemoglobin, sugar, urea, creatinine counts and lipid profiles, had to be suspended.

“We were all taken aback, since treatment of several patients hinged on the tests or examination reports, but nothing arrived,” said a senior staff in the cardiology department.

Deputy commissioner of police (central) Zulfiquar Hasan said preliminary investigation suggests “an inside job.” He added that the police were working on some clues to retrieve the lost computer and the UPC.

The patients were the worst sufferers. “The doctor suspects that my mother has tuberculosis, but they could not confirm it as the sputum tests could not be conducted,” lamented Minati Naskar. The hospital superintendent said he has held several rounds of talks with the police on conducting a surprise raid to arrest the culprits.

A few months ago, expensive medical equipment was stolen from the radiotherapy department as well. Then also, the thieves had used duplicate keys to get into the block. The situation improved somewhat on Wednesday, with some “tests being done at the second biochemistry lab”.

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