The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Patient death sparks off mob fury

Siliguri, Dec. 8: Holding the authorities of North Bengal Neurological Research Centre (NBNRC) responsible for the death of their patient, angry relatives went on the rampage damaging the windowpanes of the hospital here today, besides allegedly assaulting some nursing staff.

In an FIR lodged with the Pradhannagar police station, Ajay Gupta demanded a probe into the death of his younger brother Ramakant, and stern action against the guilty. The hospital authorities, however, said the patient was admitted in a serious condition last night, but died this morning despite the best efforts of the doctors.

Ramakant was brought here from Singtam in Sikkim where he had met with an accident at 9.30 pm. He was a third year student of Sikkim Manipal University. 'Ramakant and two others were in a car which plunged into a 200-ft gorge at 20th Mile near Singtam. He had received severe head injuries and was rushed to the Singtam hospital where doctors suggested that he be taken to Siliguri,' said Rajib Prasad, a nephew of Ramakant.

Ramakant was admitted to NBNRC around 12.30 am, following which, a CT scan was done. 'The doctor who did the scan told us not to worry since the patient was doing okay. Even at eight this morning, the staff gave us similar assurances. However, at 8.30 am when I had gone to a relative's place to freshen up, I received a call from the hospital stating that there was an emergency, and when I reached I was told the patient had died,' Gupta said in the FIR.

Prasad alleged that when they reached the hospital they were not allowed to see Ramakant leaving them with little choice but to break open the door to the operation theatre where they found him dead. But nurses at the hospital said a group of about three to four persons broke the windowpanes of the OT with an empty oxygen cylinder. 'I had a providential escape, though a few others were assaulted,' said Neera Thapa, a nurse.

The hospital authorities, however, did not feel it necessary to lodge an FIR against the relatives of the patient for damaging the hospital property. 'This sort of thing happens everywhere. We take it sportingly!' a nonchalant managing director of the hospital W.H. Chang said.

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