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Missing for 3 days, patient in lift shaft

Malda, Aug. 5: A 27-year-old who had been admitted to Malda Medical College and Hospital on Friday was found lying at the bottom of an empty lift shaft in the female ward this morning, three days after he went missing.

M.A. Rashid, the vice-principal of the medical college, said Suranjan Sarkar, had been admitted to the hospital after he had consumed rat poison at home.

He was admitted to the male general ward on the ground floor of the main building of the hospital on Friday evening. On Saturday night, the ward staff found that Suranjan was missing.

“We informed Englishbazar police station and the patient’s relatives,” Rashid said.

Around 9am today, Sushil Harijan, a sweeper, heard someone moaning from inside the empty lift shaft in the female ward. He went near the shaft and saw a man lying at the bottom.

Rashid said: “We informed the police and the fire brigade. A portion of the shaft wall had to be demolished to rescue the patient. The man has a head injury. His right arm and left leg have fractures. We are treating him. We are looking into whether there was negligence on the part of our staff.”

The male general ward where Suranjan was kept is on the second floor of the three-storeyed main building of the hospital. The female ward, 50m away, is in the same building.

Sushil Harijan, the sweeper who spotted Suranjan at the bottom of the shaft, said he was spreading bleaching powder when he heard someone moaning. “I had gone to the roof of the female ward above the third floor and I heard a faint moaning sound. There was no one else on the roof. I went near the lift shaft and saw a youth, wearing a pair of trousers, lying at the bottom,” he said.

Suranjan’s father Amal said his son consumed rat poison after he had an argument with his mother over food. “We stay in Sarbamangalapally area here and my son had consumed rat poison on Friday. He was hungry and when his mother took time to serve dinner, he had an argument with her. In a fit of rage, he consumed poison. We admitted him to the hospital but he went missing on Saturday evening. I was going to lodge a complaint with the police today when the police contacted me to say he had been found.”

Dilip Karmakar, the inspector-in-charge of Englishbazar police station, said it was not clear how the youth managed to reach the roof.

“What we have learnt from Suranjan is that he fell in the lift shaft. He was lying there, unable to stand up or shout out for help for the past two days. We are trying to find out whether he went to the female ward on his own or someone took him there. We are also trying to determine if he had attempted suicide one again,” he said.