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More beds for baby care unit

Siliguri, May 7: Twelve radiant warmers were installed at the sick newborn care unit of North Bengal Medical College and Hospital last month. The device could also serve as beds for babies in the ward that is often overcrowded.

The 20-bed unit was opened in September last year but with more than 900 babies born at the hospital every month, children have to share beds most of the time. Hospital sources said the 12 new beds would help tide over the crisis.

NBMCH superintendent Amerendranath Sarkar said: “There were only 20 beds at the SNCU and the number of infants admitted is 30 to 35 most of the time. As we had no other options, two infants had to share one bed. Last week, we installed 12 radiant warmers. The radiant warmers are shaped as cots and are used to keep babies warm. They can also be used as beds.”

The development comes after 13 babies died at the unit in a week last month with their relatives alleging the deaths were caused by infection as the newborns had to share beds. NBMCH officials had said the deaths were because of low birth weight, asphyxia, septicemia and sepsis.

Two CPAP machines were also installed at the SNCU along with the radiant warmers.

“Some babies are premature with low birth weight. Their lungs are not developed and cannot function properly. With the CPAP machines we will be able to infuse medicines in the lungs so that the babies can breathe properly,” Sarkar said.

Requisition for portable digital x-ray, pulse oximeters and BACTEC for blood culture have been sent to the state health department, officials said.