The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Death bed on hospital floor

Behrampore, Nov. 10: A pregnant woman died at the sadar hospital here early this morning after no doctor attended to her in more than three hours.

Three nurses were showcaused following a written complaint from the husband of Rintu Mondal, 30, to hospital superintendent Indranath Chatterjee. A five-member inquiry committee comprising doctors and some other hospital employees was constituted.

Health secretary Asim Barman said in Calcutta he has sought a report from Chatterjee. “If the allegation about negligence is proved, those responsible will be brought to book. We want the hospital employees, including nurses, doctors and general duty attendants, to take care of the patients as soon as they get admitted or attend the out-patient department,” he said.

Sushmita Biswas, 20, a college student in Calcutta, died at the SSKM Hospital on October 17 after lying unattended for hours in a corridor of the emergency ward. Sushmita was brought to the hospital at 7.30 in the morning with breathing trouble and was allegedly refused admission because there was “no bed available” in the general ward.

The government transferred surgeon superintendent of SSKM Deb Dwaipayan Chatterjee, his deputy and two other doctors on duty that day following a public outcry. But a string of incidents across the state since Sushmita’s death has only highlighted the plight of the healthcare delivery system.

Sources in Behrampore said Mondal was shifted to the hospital from a primary health centre at Nabagram late last night. Though she was “admitted” to the hospital, the authorities could not provide her a bed. “Even after admission my wife remained unattended for three hours till 3.15 am as the nurses on duty refused to call up the doctor despite repeated pleas. It was inhuman on the part of the nurses not to call the doctors even though my wife was bleeding profusely,” said Swadhin Mondal, the husband.

In his complaint, Swadhin said when his wife lay bleeding on the floor, the nurses remained indifferent. “At 3.15 am they contacted the doctor, who prescribed medicines and blood for Rintu who was visibly sinking after continuous bleeding,” he said.

When her family members, who had gone to buy medicines and blood, returned around 5 am, the body had become stiff. The nurses declared her dead, said Swadhin.

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