KOLKATA: In an appalling case of medical negligence,the right thumb of a newborn baby girl was severed by a nurse in Balurghat government hospital in North Bengal’s South Dinajpur district while removing a bandage using surgical scissors, leading to tension in the region.
The eight-day-old infant’s father Babla Mondal alleged, “The nurse dumped my baby’s thumb as well as the pair of scissors into a dustbin in the ward. We retrieved the thumb and also the scissors from the bin. We were referred today(Monday) to the North Bengal Medical College, which is far away, after the incident took place last night(Sunday).
“However, when we rushed there we were asked to return to the same hospital as there were no facilities available at the medical college. My daughter is in a serious condition now,” he complained.
The parents were then directed to take the newborn to a better equipped government hospital in Kolkata, 440 km away from Balurghat, but they did not have the means to hire an ambulance for the long journey.Tapan Biswas, Superintendent of Balurghat hospital, while taking responsibility for the incident, said he had ordered a probe and sent the nurse on leave. There was a furore as local people started protesting after the incident came to light and complained of lack of facilities at the government-run hospital. They alleged that the poor family was sent off to North Bengal Medical College only to cover up the incident.
CPM leader Fuad Halim, who is a general surgeon, alleged, “Healthcare in West Bengal seems to have become child’s play. The North Bengal Medical College does have the facility for reconstructive surgery and it was illegal on their part to refuse admission to the newborn, who was in a critical state. There is a time factor for performing such (microvascular) surgery and now it seems it is too late for the thumb to be restored.”
Incidentally, the Health Department is with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the MoS for Health, Chondrima Bhattacharya, is also the state’s Law Minister.