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Negligence noose on doctor

Behrampore, June 23: A doctor who had refused to treat a child at 5 in the morning has been held guilty of negligence by one of the two officers probing the case.

On June 17, Gouranga Sardar had shut the door on Bimal, a farmer, and his ailing eight-year-old son Bidhan at the rural health centre in Jalangi, 260 km from Calcutta.

The child, who was suffering from severe stomach ache, died in his father's arms a few hours later.

The farmer lodged a complaint with the police, blaming the doctor for his son's death.

The incident sparked an outcry and villagers laid siege to the Sagarpara health centre. Sardar left for Behrampore town escorted by police and has not reported for work since.

District chief medical officer of health (CMOH) Sachchidananda Sarkar, who ordered the probe, today said the doctor had not informed him or any other senior official.

'He did not apply for leave, nor did he contact me over the phone. This compelled me to write a letter to Sardar three days ago at his Calcutta address, but I am yet to hear from him.'

Sardar's absence has caused a lot of inconvenience to the villagers. 'There has been no doctor at the health centre for the past one week. We know the people are facing hardship. But we cannot engage another doctor there as long as Sardar is not formally transferred,' Sarkar said.

Assistant CMOH of Domkal subdivision Bhabani Prasad Sau and deputy CMOH Mangala Prasad Ray were put on the job of separately investigating into Bidhan's death.

Both visited the health centre yesterday and spoke to Bimal and other villagers.

While Ray refused to divulge the outcome of his probe, Sau pronounced that the doctor had 'not carried out his duty properly'.

He said he would submit his report to the CMOH in a day or two. 'I was also present at the spot on June 17 from 10 am and am a witness to what happened after the child died.'

The day Bidhan died and the mob gathered at the health centre, Sarkar had asked Sau to rush to the spot.

Yesterday, both health officials questioned Bimal. They asked him why he had insisted on his son's treatment by Sardar despite the doctor's refusal. The duo felt Bimal should have taken his ailing son to the Behrampore sub-divisional hospital instead.

'Their queries made me feel that I had done a wrong thing by bringing my son to the health centre,' Bimal said.

District superintendent of police Sanjay Singh said he has sought a report from the officer-in-charge of Jalangi police station. 'An investigation is on and we are in touch with the health officials.'

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