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Infant deaths: Bengal suspends, transfers Kolkata hospital staff

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 B.R. Satpathi, 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 RG 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,” Satpathi 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.