The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hospitals to share cot count
- Baby-death damage control

Rocked by the ruckus over the baby-death count at B.C. Roy Memorial Hospital for Children and Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, the government is busy devising a strategy to lower the critical-case count in these two state-run healthcare centres. The initial plan involves sharing the baby burden between two or more hospitals.

“Overcrowding has to be tackled on a war footing in both the hospitals. If we are able to shift the less-critical cases to Lady Dufferin Hospital and some other centres, the mortality rate will definitely drop in the coming days,” state health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra told Metro on Sunday.

According to Mishra, the government will put its plan into action once the recommendations of the two-member B.C. Roy probe committee, comprising director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee and director of medical education C.R. Maiti, are tabled. Maiti clarified that the committee is “in the process of winding up” the probe. “On Monday, we shall record the views of some more parents whose children suffered at the hospital,” he added.

On Lady Dufferin sharing the B.C. Roy load, Maiti confirmed that the Amherst Street hospital had the infrastructure to accommodate “the less critical children” from B.C. Roy Hospital and Medical College. Maiti has suggested that B.C. Roy Hospital and Medical College “treat only moribund cases” and send the rest to Lady Dufferin, after attending to them in the emergency ward. “We are revamping the emergency wards at the two hospitals, from where children can be sent to Lady Dufferin after initial treatment.”

Welcoming the government’s move, Lady Dufferin superintendent Shikha Adhikari said they could “even admit critical patients” in the hospital’s full-fledged paediatric ward. “We do not have more than 20 patients, on a daily average, in the 40-bed ward. So, there definitely is scope for accommodating children from other hospitals,” said Adhikari, adding that the hospital also had a 20-bed nursery.

The Lady Dufferin superintendent, however, was quick to clarify that “three more paediatric surgeons and medical officers” were required to effectively run the ward. “At the moment, we are managing with one paediatric surgeon and one medical officer. But if children from other hospitals are admitted here, more doctors have to be provided at once.”

In a related development, work has already begun on amalgamating B.C. Roy Memorial Hospital for Children and B.C. Roy clinic for polio victims into a full-fledged B.C. Roy group of hospitals, with nearly 500 beds, at the instance of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

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