At least 13 children died on the Diwali day at the B.C. Roy Children’s Hospital in Kolkata, the only super specialty medical center for children in West Bengal. Family members of many of the victims claimed that the babies died from lack of proper care and medical negligence. Of course, the hospital authority denied all charges of negligence and claimed that the children’s deaths were absolutely unavoidable. In order to mollify the public furor and media frenzy, health department conducted an internal investigation at a lightning speed in just a single day and as expected, found absolutely no flaw with the treatment provided by the hospital.
The more than three-decade long ruling by the Left-front government has brought Bengal healthcare to a pitiful condition. But unfortunately for the hapless Bengal residents, it appears that there is no improvement even after Mamta Banerjee’s Trinomul and Congress coalition swept to power earlier this year. Ironically, 18 children died in a single day at the very same hospital last June, soon after Mamta Banerjee came to power, causing similar public outcry. But no doctor or nurse was found guilty on that occasion also. It seems that no government is willing to take on the powerful medical lobby in West Bengal. Internal investigation by the hospital behind closed door is not likely to find negligent doctors. PBT has sent a memorandum to Mamta Banerjee, who is also the health minister, demanding that the medical records and complete investigation report must be made pubic so that independent review of the investigation may be performed to unravel the real reason for the untimely death of these children (see PBT’s memorandum below). We hope that the new government in West Bengal will heed to our demand and help us to prevent the frequent incidence of “medical negligence” (see the news below).