The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A day after ‘death’, baby dies

Malda, Feb. 2: More than 24 hours after he was wrongly pronounced dead and kept aside in the labour room, the day-old newborn died this morning at the district hospital here.

The death has sparked protests with the Congress and the Trinamul Congress storming the chamber of the chief medical officer of health (CMOH) Radharaman Banik and demanding an inquiry and exemplary punishment for the guilty.

“There is no denying that there had been serious lapses on our part. We are taking steps to ensure there is no repetitions,” Banik said.

He added that a three-member inquiry committee comprising deputy CMOH Saibal Banerjee, a gynaecologist and a paediatrician had been formed and asked to submit its report at the earliest.

Agitated relatives of Ripon and Chhabi Mondal, the parents of the newborn, had ransacked the maternity ward of the hospital yesterday when they sneaked in for a “last glimpse of the dead child” and found the Mondals’ baby moving under the shroud.

Malda district police have started an inquiry on the basis of a written complaint lodged by the Mondals.

Born on January 31, the male baby whose condition was stated to be serious during birth, had not been nursed and had been left without any neonatal care for more than 12 hours, presumed to be dead.

The same day, the CMOH, while attending a convention of the district unit of Association of Health Service Doctors, threatened to cancel the licences of nursing homes flouting the guidelines of Ayusmati Swastha Prakalpa. The scheme aims at improving health conditions in the rural areas of the country especially with respect to child delivery cases. Banik had asked doctors to take “extra precaution” to arrest “high infant mortality rate” in Malda.

The incident comes less than 15 days after health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra rebuked the superintendent of the hospital, Maniklal Das, for the “casual approach” prevailing there.

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