Abandoned by his parents and his ailment not taken seriously by a hospital, Rajiv died on Sunday. He was all of 15 days old, his only address was a government-run home for the destitute and he died without a surname.
The only ones left mourning the infant were a few inmates at the Liluah Home for Destitute Women, who had tended him during his 13-day stay there.
The baby they called Rajiv had been sent to the home by the juvenile board in late November. He was kept at the Baby Foundling section and looked after by Rupa, who had been rescued from a Mumbai brothel and had found shelter at the home a few years ago.
Rajiv fell ill on Sunday morning with an acute stomach problem. “We called the residential doctor of the home and she, after a hurried examination, advised immediate hospitalisation,” said an official at the Liluah home.
Around 11 am, Rajiv was sent to Jaiswal Hospital. “The doctors in the emergency section carried out a routine examination and found nothing seriously wrong with Rajiv. They prescribed two tablets and told the home staff to take the baby back. Rajiv was back in the home around 11.45 am,” said the official.
Immediately on his return, his condition deteriorated. “He stopped responding to our calls and became very still. Sensing trouble, we sent him back to the same hospital around noon,” said Liluah home superintendent Shiuli Bala.
But it was too late. “He was declared dead by the doctors at the hospital’s emergency unit,” said Bala.
The hospital authorities informed Bally police station immediately after the death. A team of officials visited the home in the afternoon. “We told them exactly what had happened,” said an official at the home.
When contacted, a doctor of Jaiswal Hospital’s emergency ward said: “There was no negligence on the part of hospital authorities. The baby was sent back as his condition was not serious when he was first brought here.”
Bally police are conducting an inquiry. “We have not got the name of the doctor who first attended to the baby. The authorities have assured us of cooperation but we are yet to get the details,” said an official.