The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctors back to work

Behrampore, Oct. 6: Two paediatricians, showcaused yesterday for skipping hospital without notice on a day nine infants died, returned to work this evening following a directive from the authorities.

One of the two, Amiya Ghatak, said doctors at Beh- rampore Sadar Hospital took leave during Puja by adjusting holidays with colleagues. “This is nothing new.”

Ghatak and his colleague Dilip Pradhan were told to “join immediately”.

There are two to three child deaths in a day on average in the hospital but, by the superintendent’s admission, nine was “an unusual number”. The doctors’ absence was blamed for the deaths.

“Two children died today. Health services can’t be compromised, though we are in the middle of Puja. I’ve asked subdivisional officers to cancel doctors’ leave in all hospitals and health centres in Murshidabad,” district magistrate Parwez Ahmad Siddiquie said.

He explained that if doctors were available at other places, fewer patients would be referred to the district hospital.

The sadar hospital has 25 beds in the paediatric ward. “Today, 148 children are in the hospital,” said an official.

Rafiqul Sheikh, 28, a farmer, had brought his nine-day-old daughter with breathing problems. “She was allotted a corner of the paediatric ward’s floor. Other parents told me there was no doctor to attend to the children and many of them had died. But a doctor attended to my child at regular intervals after the authorities showcaused the two,” he said.

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