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Infant deaths: Junior docs protest against ‘unfair’ suspension of staff, CM Mamata Banerjee’s ‘murder’ remark

Some protesters also alleged that the incident took place at the old nursery and not the SNCU as had been reported in the media.

mamata banerjee, west bengal, west bengal docs, west bengal doctors, bengal doctors, west bengal news, india news Junior doctors of Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital during a protest march in Kolkata on Wednesday. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)

NEARLY 300 junior doctors of Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital organised a silent protest march on Wednesday, protesting against the suspension of three junior doctors after the death of two newborn babies in the hospital’s sick neonatal care unit (SNCU) on November 21.

Calling the decision of the administration as unfair, the protesters alleged that junior doctors had to bear the brunt of negligence while senior doctors were allowed to go scot-free. “Why will junior doctors be held accountable for a mother who, without anyone’s permission, took her baby away from the radiant warmer and removed the probe from the baby’s body. Junior doctors do not control patients’ activities. They only treat the babies. Moreover, with the exception of one residential medical officer (RMO), there were no senior doctors present at the SNCU on the day of the incident,” said Biaus Samanta, one of the junior doctors leading the movement. He added that the three trainee doctors were suspended for a month without any proper investigation or an opportunity to defend themselves. “On top of that, they were forced to write that they were on duty at the SNCU that night,” Samanta claimed.

Some protesters also alleged that the incident took place at the old nursery and not the SNCU as had been reported in the media.

Another protesting doctor said they had come under undue pressure after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced that nothing would be charged for treatment at government hospitals, whereas in reality, they claimed there is a severe dearth in the supply of medicines. “For example, there is a huge gap between demand and supply of medicines such as Streptotinase and Rituximab. Last night there were about 10 patients who needed 50 ml syringes and I had only three to make do with. Besides, there was no Easy Fix to put the channels in place. In its absence we have to use leucoplast which comes off soon and their is more risk of an infection,” he said.

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Protesting doctors said they had a five-point demand, including lifting of suspension order of the three junior doctors, bringing down doctor-patient ratio, barring doctors from responsibility in case of death of patients due to lack of infrastructure, not punishing junior doctors, and relaxing the long working hours for doctors.

The agitators also demanded that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should withdraw her statement and tender an apology for referring to these doctors as murderers.

Referring to the incident, the CM had at a recent event said that the junior doctors should consider themselves lucky to have got away with a suspension and not having been dismissed for killing the two babies.

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Two newborns died allegedly due to overheating of a radiant warmer apparatus at the hospital on November 20 following which a probe committee was formed. The infants, who were put inside the apparatus because of low body temperatures, were found to have succumbed to the heat.

First published on: 03-12-2015 at 05:02:47 am
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