TT, Siliguri, Aug. 29: The father of an infant born at the Siliguri district hospital here today alleged that doctors had declared the baby stillborn and handed it over to him, but the newborn showed slight movement when he had taken it out for burial.
The boy was admitted to the sick newborn care unit where he is being kept under observation.
Amitava Mondal, the superintendent of the hospital, said an investigation was being carried out “to know what happened in the labour unit and how a live child was handed over to the patient party saying it was dead”.
Biswajit Das, a resident of Ashighar, on the outskirts of Siliguri, said his 18-year-old wife Dolly was around six months pregnant and had given birth to a boy around 11.30am today. “I had brought my wife to the district hospital around 6am yesterday after she had started bleeding. After conducting an ultrasonography, doctors told us that the condition of the baby was not good and she would have to be admitted to the hospital for some days. So, we admitted her here and she was fine until this morning. Around 11am, she had an intense abdominal pain and was immediately taken to the labour unit,” said Das, who works for a band that plays music at weddings.
After around 20 minutes, doctors and paramedics informed him that the child was stillborn.
“They handed over the baby to me, saying the child was premature and underweight and did not survive. However, when I was just leaving the hospital to bury the baby, I noticed that it was moving and breathing. I rushed back and told the doctors who immediately admitted the baby to the sick newborn care unit,” said Das.
Das’ relatives soon gathered at the hospital and met the hospital authorities, demanding that action be taken against the doctors and the paramedics in the labour unit who had wrongly declared a child dead.
“There was utter carelessness on the part of the doctors and the nurses in the labour department. They assumed that since the child was premature and underweight, it was stillborn. They should have checked the baby properly and waited for some time to see if it showed movements. We want the hospital authorities to conduct an inquiry and take appropriate action against the nurses and doctors who were in the labour unit at that time,” said Saraswati Thakur, a relative of Das.
The hospital superintendent said an inquiry would be conducted and denied that Dolly was six months pregnant when she was brought to the hospital.
“The mother was 18 weeks pregnant and the baby weighed around 380gms. According to medical standards in our country, a pregnancy is considered viable if the baby is 28 weeks old and weighs a kilogram. A pregnancy is viable when chances of survival of the baby after its birth are high. In this case, the pregnancy was not viable because the mother was only 18 weeks pregnant and the baby weighed only 380 grams. It is rare that a baby with a weight of 380 grams survives after birth and this one is such a case. It also happens sometimes that the baby does not breathe for some time after birth due to birth-related complications and it may have started breathing only after a few minutes,” said Mondal.
“However, we are carrying out an investigation to know what happened in the labour unit and how a live child was handed over to the patient party saying it was dead. The child is currently admitted to the hospital’s SNCU and we are monitoring its situation,” he added.