The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Left-alone baby goes home

Calcutta, May 15: A mother, trying to hide behind a burqa, sneaked into AMRI Hospital through the rear today to take her baby home, almost two months after he was born.

Ripa Seal, whose premature baby was at the neo-natal intensive care unit when she was discharged days after the delivery, couldn’t take her son home earlier because her husband did not provide money to pay the hospital bill.

“I used to visit the hospital regularly. But I couldn’t take my baby earlier because my husband was not ready to pay the hospital bill,” Ripa said.

Hurriedly walking away with the child in her arms, the mother said: “I’m happy… I’m taking my baby home. Everything is settled now.”

Her husband, B. Seal, works with a private firm in Durgapur.

The boy was nearly eight weeks premature when Ripa, a Santoshpur resident, underwent a Caesarian section on March 19. But doctors declared him fit for discharge on April 21.

The bill for the childbirth and treatment came to over Rs 1 lakh. It was scaled down to Rs 30,000 following the father’s request. But the parents did not come to take the baby.

Seal said he gets his salary in the middle of the month and he had to wait till then.

Ripa came to the Dhakuria hospital at 5 pm today. She entered through the rear entrance, went to the personnel department and submitted a plea to release the child.

AMRI had lodged a police complaint saying the parents were refusing to take the baby home.

The police went to the Seals’ rented house at Santoshpur twice.

An officer of the Lake police station, where AMRI had lodged a complaint against the parents, said: “We helped them sort out the matter today. Her total bill amounted to over Rs 1 lakh. The parents had paid Rs 30,000 as advance and the hospital waived the rest.”

Asked why she did not contact the hospital authorities or the police earlier, she refused to comments.

The mother stopped visiting the hospital over a week ago after some of the employees allegedly threatened her with arrest.

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