The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctor arrested after delivery death

Raiganj, Sept. 13: Itahar block medical officer of health Dipankar Pal was arrested today on charges of “gross negligence” that resulted in the death of 25-year-old Anupama Sarkar, who succumbed two hours after delivery.

The incident occurred around 7.30 am at the Itahar health centre in Uttar Dinajpur district.

Once the news of her death broke out, a mob went berserk and gheraoed the doctor on duty and healthcare personnel for about nine hours for “dereliction of duty”.

Police arrested Pal around 2.30 pm.

The district unit of the Indian Medical Association has condemned the incident.

Pal, who has appealed for an inquiry into the incident, has pleaded his innocence. “It is unfortunate that we could not save the patient. But since the health centre does not have a blood bank, we were simply helpless,” he said.

However, Anupama’s relative, Dulal Ghosh, had a different tale to tell.

“Anupama, who complained of labour pain, was brought to the health centre from her village around 2.30 am. At that point of time, ophthalmologist Dipankar Pal was the only doctor who was on duty. Pal operated on her around 5 am. But complications arose shortly after delivery. Anupama started bleeding profusely. Though Kajal Mondal, a nurse, was immediately informed of the patient’s condition, she refused to act,” Ghosh alleged.

“With Anupama’s condition fast deteriorating, the doctor asked us to buy an injection around 7.30 am. But before we could get the medicine, we were told that she had died,” he added.

The news of her death sparked anger among her relatives, who started blaming the hospital authorities. They also lodged an FIR at Itahar police station.

By noon, thousands of people had laid siege to the health centre demanding a high-level probe. Apprehending trouble, a police picket was also put up.

Several senior district administration officials, including Itahar BDO Debasish Karmakar and panchayat samity president Hafizuddin Ahmed, rushed to the heath centre. Additional chief medical officer of health Animesh Roy and senior police personnel also reached the “troubled spot” to bring the “volatile situation under control”.

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