In a tragic incident, 10 newborn babies died at the Murshidabad Medical College Hospital, West Bengal, in a span of 24 hours. The hospital is located about 200 km from Kolkata. Doctors have underlined malnutrition and underweight as possible causes of the unfortunate deaths.
Dr. Amit Dan, Principal of the Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital, said that the babies were shifted from the Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) at Jangipur sub-divisional hospital due to some ongoing PWD work over there. Hence, all the patients from Jangipur sub-divisional hospital are referred to the hospital. He further added that the newborn babies were malnourished, underweight, and weighed around 300–500 pounds. The Murshidabad Hospital has 129 beds and 300 patients. He said that they tried their best but, unfortunately, could not save the newborn babies.
Dr. Dan also added that one of the babies had a severe heart condition, and their hospital did not have the facilities to provide treatment for the same. They did not have time to get the baby transported to some other center. Two babies were suffering from congenital heart diseases; one had congenital neurological disease; two other babies had septicemia; and four other babies were underweight. Moreover, it was difficult to save them as it had taken crucial 5–6 hours to get them transported from Jangipur to Murshidabad Medical College and hospital. “We could not prevent this tragedy as it took a long time for the babies to get transported to our hospital," said Dr. Dan.
Officials also added that the sudden influx of transferred patients put immense pressure on the already overloaded hospital and contributed to the tragedy.
Dr. Dan also informed that a medical committee comprised of renowned doctors has been constituted to investigate the incident. He also offered his condolences to the affected families and acknowledged the requirement for a detailed investigation. The state health department has also conveyed that appropriate measures will be taken to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.
The unfortunate incident has triggered public outrage, and people are demanding answers from the authorities. It also brings to light the need for proper and accessible healthcare for all sections of society.
(Inputs from various sources)
(Rehash/Dr. Sushmita Ganguli)