The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Medical College whitewash scramble

After the death due to political chaos and medical callousness, comes the post-mortem that is pointless for the parents of Shabana Parveen.

Wednesday found the authorities of Medical College and Hospital scrambling to set up an inquiry to ascertain why the six-month-old girl had not been admitted when she arrived, draped on the tired arms of her parents, trudging all the way from rally-hit Canning Street.

Preliminary investigations revealed Shabana had arrived at the hospital around 3 pm on Monday, with her parents and other family members. Suffering from diarrhoea, convulsions and fever, she was first taken to the emergency wing, where doctors examined her and immediately referred her to Sishu Nivas Medicine (SNM), the paediatric medicine ward of the hospital.

Shabana was patient no. 42 of a total of 106 children and adults treated in the emergency section till 6 pm on Monday. According to reports, on the same day, 136 children and adults were admitted through the emergency wing and there was room in the wards for a few more. Attending doctors in the emergency wing had felt Shabana was in a critical condition and needed immediate admission. Her parents were advised to make immediate arrangements.

A woman post-graduate trainee at SNM did check Shabana. “The trainee did advise admission, but the family appeared reluctant. It was probably not prepared to spend what appeared to be a large sum of money that might have been required for treatment,” said A.N. Biswas, hospital deputy superintendent.

On Wednesday, Shabana’s family members insisted they had been told by some Medical College officials that a huge sum of money would be required. But the hospital was prepared to give a clean chit to its trainees. “They did examine the girl and we have no doubt they advised admission,” said principal Jayshree Mitra, overseeing the probe. “We don’t think that any nursing staff could discuss cost of treatment with patients.”

Late on Wednesday, hospital officials, along with Sukanta Chatterjee, head of the department of paediatric medicine, and the trainees who had examined Shabana, met the principal to help prepare a detailed report.

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