The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Patient walks out, found dead

Calcutta, June 18: An hour-and-a-half after Ashis Chakraborty disappeared from Medical College and Hospital, he was found lying dead on Chittaranjan Avenue.

All this while, none of the hospital staff reported him missing. They even denied that he was an MCH patient till the police pointed to a giveaway sticker on the dead man’s forehead, indicating the precise space that he had occupied on the floor of the hospital’s corridor.

Till late at night, no senior doctor at the hospital, including superintendent R. Chattopadhyay, was aware of the incident.

Around 1.45 am yesterday, the 45-year-old resident of Muktaram Babu Street was admitted in a critical condition with a peptic perforation. The doctors examined him and said he would have to undergo surgery. However, Chakraborty refused to be operated upon and gave a written statement to the effect. Around 3 pm today, he got up and walked away.

Nurses in the ward did not even bother to inform the authorities about the missing patient.

What has astonished the police is not only the nursing staff’s “negligent attitude”, but the fact that the man could have walked past the guards at the gate with the sticker — displaying his name and ward number — plastered across his forehead.

Around 4.30 pm, bystanders waiting to catch a bus on the Central Avenue entrance of the hospital found Chakraborty lying on the pavement. “He was lifeless and we knew immediately that he was dead. A sticker on his forehead revealed that he was a patient,” said Timir Bhattacharya, officer in-charge of Jorasanko police station.

But when Chakraborty’s body was taken to the hospital, the staff denied he had been admitted there. The police then took the body to the adjoining School of Tropical Medicine where the doctors told them that this was an MCH case.

The police returned to the hospital and insisted that the authorities carry out a proper search, pointing to the sticker on the dead man’s forehead. It was then that the staff reluctantly admitted, almost two hours after the police got there, that he was, in fact, missing from the second floor of the emergency building.

“They seemed to be in a hurry to shrug off any responsibility,” said Rajeev Kumar, deputy commissioner of police (central division).

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