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Hospital baby in cat’s mouth

Calcutta, Oct. 28: A nurse intervened in the nick of time to prevent a cat from carrying away a two-day-old infant from the nursery of the state-run Bongaon sub-divisional hospital in North 24-Parganas last night.

Swati Biswas, 23, had given birth to a boy on Sunday. As the baby developed jaundice, he was placed in an incubator in the hospital’s nursery.

On Monday night, around 8.30, the attending nurse met with a bizarre sight: a cat moving stealthily in the room with the baby clasped in its mouth.

The stray cat had entered the nursery, climbed into the incubator and attacked the infant. When the nurse chased it, the cat dropped him on the floor and jumped out of a window.

This morning, Ashoke, the baby’s father, and his relatives found an open wound on the baby’s right thigh. They reported the matter to the doctors and nurses on duty.

“They tried to hush up the matter and explained that it is a minor incident and we should not make a hue and cry about it. They also assured us free treatment for the injury,” said a relative.

Hospital superintendent Hirendranath Dutta said authorities were probing how the cat managed to find its way in. “The cat had tried to pull the baby out of the nursery, but could not manage to get away with it,” he said.

Director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee dismissed the incident as “nothing major”.

“In the visiting hours, stray cats often venture into the hospital wards. But the hospital staff should see to it that the patients are safe,” Chatterjee said at Writers’ Buildings.

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