KOLKATA: The horror of crib deaths in West Bengal returned Wednesday with seven infants, aged between three hours to three months, dying in a 24-hour period in a hospital in Malda district.
The crib deaths, announced by Minister of State for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya, took place at the Malda Medical College and Hospital.
"We have information that seven babies have died in Malda Medical College and Hospital. Only one baby was born in the hospital and the six others were referred cases," said Bhattacharya.
"Among them, one underweight baby came from Bihar and another baby came from Jharkhand with broncho-pneumonia," Bhattacharya said.
She added that three babies had come with low birth weight and two babies with broncho-pneumonia.
"Yes, seven babies have died in the last 24 hours. The babies were mostly premature born and underweight and some of them carried acute infections. The age of the babies ranged from three hours to three months," acting superintendent of the hospital, Subrata Som, said.
He declined to comment on the reason for the deaths but ruled out negligence on the part of the hospital staff.
"I have taken charge today as the superintendent is on leave. I cannot comment on the reason of death but can certainly say there was no negligence from our part," Som said.
"We are inquiring whether there was any negligence from the part of the hospital. We will take appropriate measures if we find any negligence," the minister stated.
In the past two months, eight babies have died in the Malda hospital.
Before that, between Oct 25 and 28 last year, 16 babies died at the B.C. Roy Children's Hospital, the only children's referral hospital in Kolkata. The Burdwan Medical College and Hospital reported 12 infant deaths Oct 27-28.
Earlier in June, 18 babies had died at the B.C. Roy Children's Hospital.