| The baby boy born to Ripa Seal on March 19 sleeps in the neo-natal care unit on Friday afternoon. Picture by Amit Datta
Name: Baby of Ripa Seal
Age: 1 hour
Admit Date: March 19, 7.50 pm
The hospital admission register puts the baby boy in the neo-natal intensive care unit down as the “baby of Ripa Seal”.
But 55 days after he was born, he remains nobody’s child.
The boy, born premature at the AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria, was medically fit for discharge on April 21.
But his parents have refused to take him home. So, the discharge date remains a blank.
Baby — that’s what the nurses tending to him call the abandoned infant — came into this world, nearly eight weeks premature, after Ripa Seal, a resident of Santoshpur, underwent a Caesarian section.
“The child weighed 1.1 kg — much below the average of 2.5 kg — and was suffering from respiratory distress, low platelet count and septicaemia,” said an attending doctor.
“Following intensive treatment and care over a month, the baby boy recovered enough to be discharged from hospital,” he added.
But that was not to be.
Soon after the authorities told mother Ripa and father B. Seal — who works with a private company — that they could take their child home, the two stopped coming to the hospital. That was last week.
“With no trace of the parents, we were forced to alert the Lake police station,” said Brigadier (retd) S.B. Purkayastha, president, AMRI Hospitals.
When the police first went to the Seal’s rented Avenue East, Modern Park, residence in Santoshpur, they were told that they would fetch the child from hospital as soon as some “financial trouble” was sorted out and they could pay the hospital fees.
“When we went to their address a second time, on May 5, the place was locked and were were told by neighbours that the Seals had not come home for a week,” said an officer of Lake police station.
When Metro visited the Seal residence on Friday afternoon, it was under lock and key. The landlord and the neighbours confirmed that the couple had gone missing.
“Whenever they return, we will insist that they first fetch their child from hospital and then step into the house,” said the landlord of the Seals.
Oblivious to all this, Baby, who now weights 2 kg, is being pampered by the nurses in the neo-natal intensive care unit. “We are trying our best but he really needs his mother’s care now,” said nurse Soma Biswas, adding that Baby had been given “expressed breast milk” from other young mothers in the unit for his nourishment.
“If the parents have a genuine problem about paying the hospital fees, for the sake of the child we can of course work out a settlement. This is a most unfortunate situation for the baby boy to be in,” said Purkayastha.