Friday, November 4, 2011

Nurse pointed to bottle, asked me to clean: Ayah

Nurse pointed to bottle, asked me to clean: Ayah

Lalbag, Nov. 3: An ayah who was present without authorisation in a labour room where an "acid-like lotion" was applied on a lady has said the supervising nurse "pointed to a bottle" and asked her to clean the patient with the substance inside.

The claim not only rips the veil off the widely prevalent practice of ayahs who pose as relatives being allowed inside labour rooms but also the reluctance of some hospital employees to clean up patients, especially when it involves incontinence.

Usha Hajra, the ayah against whom the superintendent of Lalbag sub-divisional hospital has filed an FIR, told reporters at her home in Murshidabad today: "Sikha Bibi's family had hired me to look after her in the hospital. After she delivered a baby on Monday, the nurse (Shyamali Karmakar) pointed to a bottle and told me to clean up the mother.

"After I cleaned her up, I found the skin on her abdomen and legs turning black. I became nervous and my throat dried up. The nurse and some other employees asked me to go home and not to come to the hospital for a week. They told me they would 'manage things here'."

Usha, whose husband died two years ago, said she earned her livelihood only by working as an ayah at the hospital. "I don't know what to do now," she said.

Shyamali, who was suspended today, said she had gone to help in another delivery immediately after Sikha delivered her baby. "The ayah was cleaning the patient. Generally, ayahs do such cleaning jobs in hospitals," she said.

Hospital superintendent Saswati Nag said Usha, in her thirties, had entered the labour room "posing as a family member of the patient". "She was not supposed to enter the labour room, let alone clean the patient."

Health commissioner Dilip Ghosh said the report submitted by the hospital mentioned that "benzene, not acid, had been used" to clean Sikha. "But we are not giving the hospital authorities a clean chit immediately. We have asked them to find out if any other substance was present in the bottle apart from benzene," Ghosh said. A doctor said benzene was one of the disinfectants used in government hospitals to clean mothers.

The deputy chief medical officer of health of Murshidabad, B.P. Shau, today served a showcause notice on Nirmalya Kumar Shau, the doctor under whom Shikha was admitted.

Baby exhumed

Police today exhumed the body of Sikha's baby to find out the cause of death. The hospital had said yesterday that the baby was "stillborn" but Sikha had mentioned in her complaint that she thought "the child was alive after delivery".

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