The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fatal fall shadow on newborn death
- Parents file FIR against hospital

Siliguri, July 22: Parents of a newborn today filed an FIR, alleging that their baby was killed by a negligent staff member of Siliguri District Hospital, who had probably dropped him.

The superintendent of the hospital, Pradip Sarkar, was gheraoed by members of Siliguri Welfare Society, an NGO working on health related issues, in protest.

Laxmi Singha, a resident of Rajibnagar near Darjeeling More, was admitted to the hospital yesterday. “She had a normal delivery at 6.30 last evening,” said Nayan, her husband, a waiter at a hotel in Siliguri. But the joy of having their first child was short-lived.

“Half an hour later, I was told by the staff members that the baby had died after developing a breathing problem,” he said. “I broke the news to my wife and both of us resigned to our misfortune.”

But for some reason, the parents were not handed over the body, nor was it shown to them properly.

“This morning, when we got the death certificate, we saw it was written that the baby was stillborn. Then, when the body was finally handed over to us at 1pm, we saw that there was a wound on the crown and a blood clot around it,” he said.

This led the couple to believe that the baby had suffered a fatal injury after it fell from the hands of a negligent staff member.

“The attitude of the staff and the circumstances strongly indicate this,” said Deepankar Chakraborty, the vice-president of the Society.

On the Society’s suggestion, Nayan later lodged a complaint of negligence with the Siliguri police station.

Pradip Sarkar, the hospital superintendent, said: “The death certificate states that the baby was stillborn. But since complaints have been made, we shall make inquiries. A post-mortem has been ordered.”

Laxmi’s sister Ruma Das said they had no faith in the hospital authorities.

“Yesterday we were not even allowed to see the stillborn and forced by the guards to leave the hospital ward,” she said.

Nabanita Sen and Kalpana Das, the Singhas’s neighbours echoed her.

“We have demanded that the superintendent carry out an investigation within 24 hours, otherwise we are going to organise a larger movement,” said Chakraborty.

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