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Since 1st March, 1999
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39-year stay ends in death

Bhanumati, whose address was bed 9 of Howrah Orthopaedic Hospital for the past 39 years, died on Wednesday morning following a renal failure.

She was shifted to the intensive care unit of the hospital four days ago.

Bhanumati was five years old when she was admitted to the hospital, run by the Eastern Railway, on June 28, 1969, for an operation to remove an abscess below her hip.

But the surgery allegedly resulted in some complications and the girl was paralysed and lost her speech. Mother Sitamani Devi refused to take her home, demanding that the doctors cure her first.

She even refused to accept the body, saying: “Senior officials must come and apologise for ruining my daughter’s life.” She relented after a senior official intervened around 7pm. The body was cremated at Hanuman Ghat, Shibpur.

“For the past 39 years, I had been visiting the hospital twice daily, bringing food for my daughter. I won’t have to go there from tomorrow,” said Sitamani Devi, whose late husband Baijnath used to drive railway trucks.

“Bhanumati was so full of life when we admitted her to the hospital. Today, I am taking back her body,” she cried.

The Eastern Railway issued a press statement saying Bhanumati had suffered an “irreversible damage to the brain because of some complications and a cardiac arrest... There were no chances of further recovery... The hospital was bearing the cost of treatment and medicines”.

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