Kolkata: In a shocking incident, eighteen new-born children lost their lives in a premier Kolkata state-run children hospital. The angry locals and relatives alleging negligence by doctors, carried out protests and damaged the hospital property.

Though the West Bengal government has ordered an inquiry but the anger of the people is on the boil. The police had to conduct lathi-charge twice to disperse the gathering outside the hospital building.

Mrinal Kanti Chatterjee, Principal of the B C Roy Children's Hospital told that 18 babies died in the past 48 hours. She said,”Most of the babies were either pre-mature or suffering from septicaemia or low-birth weight problems and were brought in a moribund stage to the hospital, the largest pediatric referral in the eastern region.”

Chatterjee told that most of the children were one to five days old and she clearly denied any carelessness in the treatment.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who also looks after the Health ministry has ordered a probe in the matter. "The inquiry committee, which has been formed with two doctors from outside, has been asked to ascertain if there was any lapse on our part and submit a report within 24 hours," she said. "If any medical negligence is proved in the case, nobody will be spared," she warned.
   
Banerjee noted that once 75 babies had died at the same hospital and the authorities had claimed that it was 'normal'. The CM said she wanted to visit the hospital, but did not do so fearing it might hinder the treatment of the children.
   
For the record, 32 children had died within three days in the same hospital in 2002.

(JPN/Bureau)