The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Death after ant bites

Calcutta, Nov. 15: Gouri Rani Chakraborty died this morning after suffering ant bites on her left eyelid.

Through Sunday night, 50-year-old Gouri Rani had cried in vain for relief from her hospital bed as big black ants crawled under the bandage on her left eye and nibbled away.

While authorities of the state-run Sambhunath Pandit Hospital in south Calcutta ascribed her death to multi-organ failure caused by a severe diabetic condition, the family alleged medical negligence.

“If she had not been neglected by the doctors and nurses, she would have been alive today, regardless of her diabetic condition,” said Amitava Kar, Gouri Rani’s son-in-law.

Although Gouri Rani’s daughter Shikha Chakraborty and her husband Robin were present in the hospital throughout the night, they were not told of her condition and were informed only after her death at 7.40 am. After this, a fresh complaint of negligence was lodged with the Bhowanipur police station.

Yesterday, the family had made the first after they found the ants swarming over her eye.

Sukumar Das, the medical superintendent of the hospital, said an autopsy showed Gouri Rani, who was admitted to the hospital a week ago, died of multi-organ failure caused by severe diabetes which pushed her into a comatose condition towards the end.

Her heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, eyes and other organs were found to be severely damaged as a result of her long suffering from diabetes.

“I would like to emphatically state that our doctors and nurses did their best in the past one week to give her care and attention. All her organs had failed and death, in such a situation, was inevitable,” Das said.

She was brought to the hospital with an infection in the left eye after a surgery was performed on the right eye at a private clinic, Disha, at Barrackpore.

Doctors at the hospital wondered why the operation was carried out at Disha when the patient’s blood sugar was at an “uncontrolled level”. Authorities at Disha refused to comment.

Her husband, Basudeb Chakraborty, a warder at the Presidency Jail, had taken her to the Barrackpore clinic and the surgery was conducted on October 26. Soon after, her eye swelled up. She was admitted to Sambhunath Pandit under the care of ophthalmologist Siddhartha Ghosh.

A little after Sunday midnight, Gouri Rani felt pain in her left eye and called for help. But the nurses did not listen to her, alleged her son, Soumen. He was the one who found the black ants on her eye.

According to Gouri Rani’s family members, the doctors told them on Monday that she was “stabilising, though her condition was serious”.

The hospital, however, said her condition began to deteriorate since late evening and the end came in the morning.

“At the morgue, the doctors called me and showed how the ants feasted on my mother’s left eye. There was this big hole on one side,” said Soumen.

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