The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Death sparks attendant row

Krishnagar (Nadia), Dec. 20: The death of a patient at a Kalyani hospital has sparked a row over private attendants, barely months after the government banished them from state-run hospitals.

Namita Sarkar was admitted in the maternity ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital yesterday afternoon in a serious condition. Today morning, nurses found her dead.

A convulsing Namita had somehow fallen from her bed, with no one even noticing it. To make matters worse, the private attendant engaged to look after Namita and the nurses in the ward were nowhere in sight.

A furious Prabhakar Chatterjee, the director of health services, told The Telegraph that he was surprised that private attendants were still working in the hospital.

“How can this happen' I have taken it up with the relevant authorities and they will have to answer what private attendants were doing in the hospital,” Chatterjee said.

After abolishing private attendants, the government started issuing a special green card to relatives of patients, allowing them to stay with patients. But private attendants, mostly in district hospitals, continue to hang around in the corridors and promise to look after patients for fees as low as Rs 30.

When Dulal Mandal, a resident of Kalyani Simanta, rushed her daughter Namita to the hospital yesterday, one such attendant, identified as Anima Mandal, volunteered to do the job.

Things took a turn for the worse after doctors found that the foetus inside Namita’s womb was not moving. Investigations revealed that the foetus was lifeless. “Doctors told me in the evening that they would conduct a surgery to remove the dead foetus the next morning,” Dulal said.

This morning, a nurse found that Namita was lying on the floor and was dead. “They told me that Namita had, somehow, fallen from the bed and died,” said a dumbfounded Dulal, unable to reconcile matters.

He rushed to hospital superintendent Nirupam Biswas’ chamber and lodged a complaint against the nursing staff. Biswas has ordered a probe.

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