Kolkata: Two more infants died on Thursday at the government-run B C Roy Children's Hospital here taking the crib death toll to 13 in three days in a rerun of the tragedy when 18 babies passed away in two days in the same hospital in June.

The crib deaths have raised questions on the medical care at West Bengal's largest referral hospital for children following accusations of negligence by parents but Hospital authorities maintained there is "nothing abnormal" or "unusual" in the deaths because the babies are brought in an "extremely critical" condition.

The state government gave a clean chit to the hospital holding there was no medical negligence or any lapse on the part of hospital authorities.

It came to this conclusion after considering a report submitted by the hospital which inquired into the crib deaths.

"After considering the report submitted to us, we don't find any lapse or medical negligence on part of the hospital authorities," Director of Medical Education Sushanta Banerjee said.

Hospital Superintendent Dilip Pal and Principal Mrinal Chatterjee said two more infants had died on Thursday, pushing the death toll to 13 since the first death was reported on Tuesday

"On an average five infant deaths occur out of the 300 admissions daily," Pal said, adding "This is not abnormal as most of the referred cases are extremely critical and brought in a moribund state."

Pal said the babies in critical condition were brought for admission at the very last stage. "This poses a serious problem for us to deal with."

Maintaining that the best of care and medical attention was given to the patients, he said the referral hospital, eastern region's largest paediatric one, was burdened with a high rate of admission mostly referred from district hospitals.

The families of patients are accusing the hospital staff of negligence.

Asked about the progress of the inquiry ordered by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee into the death of 18 infants in June, Pal said an inquiry committee had been formed and a report was being sent to the health department.

He said the situation at the hospital was now normal and admission was going on as usual.

Centre gives clean chit to Hospital

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday gave a clean chit to the B C Roy Children's Hospital in Kolkata, saying there is nothing wrong with the health care institution.

The Minister, however, said the Centre has sought a report on the death of children at the referral hospital, the largest in West Bengal.

"We took up the matter with the state government today and we wanted a report," Azad said.

"There is nothing wrong with the hospital. Because, this hospital is a referral hospital and has a great reputation. It has been able to save lives of thousands of children and infants (in the past)," Azad said.

"I think, one thing most of the people are missing is that this is a referral hospital for children and most of the children who are referred to this hospital are always in a critical position," he said.

The Minister said only two of the dead children are from Kolkata and the rest of them from five other districts of West Bengal.

18 infants had died at the same hospital in June this year, prompting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to order an inquiry into the incident.

(Agencies)