Eleven deaths in three days, three in the last 24 hours, have prompted the medical team at the BC Roy Memorial Hospital for Children to plead for extra hands and to renew a call to stop “unnecessary” referrals to the hospital. A similar restriction had been imposed after the outcry over the spate of crib deaths one-and-a-half years ago.
The government, it is understood, will ask all hospitals in the city and elsewhere in the districts to stop sending cases that can be handled adequately at their paediatric departments.
“It is true that some referrals are totally unnecessary and we will make an effort to ensure that these babies get adequate treatment in the respective health centres and hospitals before they are referred here,” C.R. Maiti, director of medical education, said on Saturday.
The hospital has a capacity to tackle 250 patients. But on most days, the figure doubles, compounding the problems of the 13-15 member senior medical faculty. “While most patients come here as a last resort, quite a sizeable number comes with fever and cold that can be easily treated at local hospitals,” a senior doctor said.
Once the referrals stop, the medical team, too, would be in a position to handle the critical cases at ease. The problem is compounded by the absence of junior doctors.
According to authorities at the BC Roy hospital, most of the 28-member team of junior doctors working at the hospital are at times “not available”, either because they are busy studying or because they are compelled to stay outside the campus.
“From April 1, they will be provided accommodation in the hospital which will allow them to stay 24 hours and assist in critical cases,” S.C. Biswas, acting hospital superintendent said on Saturday.
Investigations into the latest crib deaths have failed to prove that they were caused by negligence on the part of doctors.
“The children were in a serious condition and were referred at the last minute. The doctors here have tried their best,” Maiti said.
All the three babies who died in the last 24 hours were suffering from problems like septicaemia, meningitis, asphyxia at birth and brain haemorrhage, Biswas added.
The DME arrived at the hospital around 3 pm on Saturday to assess the situation and hold a meeting with the medical team for better treatment facilities. “I have emphasised that teamwork between senior and junior doctors is required at this hour for better results,” Maiti added.
He spoke to officers about the government’s plans to use Rs 70 lakh donated by India captain Sourav Ganguly to build a neo-natal facility in the hospital. Ten new wards equipped with 20 beds each will come up at the hospital shortly. The ward, according to the DME, will be named after the cricketer.