Mamata clean chit for BC Roy docs

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  • Published 2.07.11

The chief minister on Friday gave a clean chit to the doctors at BC Roy Post-Graduate Institute for Paediatric Sciences and said the state of the district hospitals was to blame for 18 children dying in the Phoolbagan facility over the past two days. No one died at the hospital on Friday.

“Facilities at BC Roy hospital are absolutely fine. As far as I know, the babies who died in the past two days were brought to the hospital from faraway places. If the earlier government had paid attention to the district hospitals, patients would not have had to travel so far for treatment and lives could have been saved,” said Mamata, after inaugurating a blood donation camp near BC Roy’s house, off Subodh Mullick Square, on Friday morning.

“Many of the kids were half dead by the time they reached BC Roy hospital after travelling a long distance. The number of deaths would have been lower if these children were not admitted. At BC Roy hospital, doctors admit all patients no matter how serious they are,” she added.

“Newborns die mainly because their mothers do not get proper food while they are pregnant and are themselves malnourished… This is what the Left Front government did to the state in the past 34 years.”

Nearly 40,000 children below the age of one die in the state every year, the chief minister said. “Children used to die during the Left Front regime too but they used to hide the data. I do not hide information and immediately formed a commission to probe into the child deaths.”

Echoing the chief minister, health secretary Manabendra Nath Roy said at Swasthya Bhavan that the inquiry committee did not find any evidence of negligence behind the 18 deaths.

According to him, eight of the 18 babies had bodyweight below 2.5 kg and were in a poor state when they reached the hospital. Most of the others had acute breathing problems and died of asphyxia.

Roy said the government’s “highest priority” was to bring down the child mortality rate, which he claimed was on a par with the national average.

He added the authorities had not received any written complaint about the alleged rude behaviour by doctors and nurses but admitted that the behaviour of medical staff needed to improve.

In its report submitted to the health department, the committee proposed infrastructure upgrade at the biggest paediatric referral hospital in the state.

Based on the recommendations, Roy later announced a 40-bed sick neonatal care unit would be set up in the hospital within a month. A CT scan machine will be installed as well.

“The government is also setting up 20 sick neonatal care units in different district hospitals by December to reduce the number of referral cases,” said the health secretary. Of them, 10 will be set up by September.

The BC Roy hospital authorities placed 40 new bins, sprinkled eight sacks of bleaching powder and cleaned the premises on Friday. “We need more doctors and Group D employees as soon as possible,” said hospital superintendent B.K. Pal.

Earlier, Mamata had revealed plans to turn BC Roy’s house into a hospital. A diagnostic centre-cum-polyclinic operates from the premises now.

To improve healthcare in the districts, she wants to start diagnostic centres and hospitals with modern facilities.