Kolkata: The West Bengal directorate of health services on Friday said four staffers of the state-run Medical College and Hospital Kolkata have been transferred and several others suspended following the death of two babies allegedly due to overheating in a warmer apparatus.
According to state health services director Dr B R Satpathy, punitive action has been initiated against at least seven healthcare workers at the hospital, including the head of the paediatric unit and three junior doctors.
“The decision has been approved by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Four people have been transferred to R G Kar Medical College and Hospital, including head of the paediatric unit, nursing head and the deputy. Three junior doctors and the nursing staff are on suspension. The sister-in-charge has been put on immediate suspension,” Dr Satpathy said.
However, a section of the nursing unit launched a protest against the suspension and transfer orders accusing the state government of not providing adequate infrastructure and staff to support the care of newborns.
A probe panel was set up by the authorities following allegations by their parents that the babies died in the radiant warmer apparatus due to overheating caused by negligence of the hospital staff.
The bereaved parents also accused the hospital of misleading on the cause of the death in the death certificate.
Admitted to the sick neonatal care unit, the infants died on November 21.
According to the WHO, newborn babies, in particular pre-term and those with low birth weight, are predisposed to hypothermia and warming devices, namely incubators and radiant warmers, are needed for them.
According to a report in ToI, the two babies — five and four days old — had developed jaundice and were put under the same radiant warmer in the sick newborn care unit (SNCU) along with a third baby. The third baby, on whom the temperature probe to monitor heat was attached, was taken away by the mother leaving the other two without the probe on the night of November 20.
Paediatric department head Dr Tapas Sabui has been held directly responsible for the death as the SNCU operates under him. Dr Sabui, along with Dr Sushanta Bhanja, the resident medical officer (RMO) at the SNCU, sister in charge of the SNCU Sraboni Pal, nursing superintendent of the hospital Keya Samanta and her deputy Indrani Das have been transferred to R G Kar Medical College.
The axe also fell on three post graduate trainees (PGT) and the nurse on duty that night. While PGT doctors Roshni Chakraborty, Malabika Maity and Sushmita Banerjee have been suspended for a month, Chandrani Dey, the nurse on duty, has been suspended indefinitely.
“These are only initial actions. The health department will wait for the thorough probe report and decide on the future course,” state health secretary Malay De has been quoted by ToI as saying.