Ants gorge on eye, patient’s cries ignored

The diabetic woman was left with a gaping hole in her eye after the insects attacked her on Monday night; she died on Tuesday.

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KOLKATA: It is no doubt a rather dubious new feather in the cap of the West Bengal health department. New-born babies being attacked, and often killed, by stray dogs, cats and rats in a number of state-run hospitals is nothing new to the state.

But the worst case of negligence was witnessed in one of the leading state-run hospitals in the capital, Kolkata, on Monday, as king-sized black ants ate into the eye of a 50-year-old diabetic patient, as nurses on duty ignored her pleas for help.

The victim, Gauri Rani Chakrabarty, was admitted to the Shambhunath Pandit Hospital for treatment of diabetes. On Monday, when her son, Pintu Chakrabarty, went to visit his mother, he saw that one of her eyes was being eaten by ants.

Apparently, the nurses on duty ignored her repeated shrieks for help, and the result is a gaping hole in one side of her eye. At one point, a nurse even came to the victim’s bedside and said,“Don’t worry, the infected eye at times hurts. Try to get some sleep.”

Gauri Chakrabarty died on Tuesday. The doctor’s report says it was due to natural causes. Her blood sugar level was over 500.  However, an agitation was held outside the hospital in view of the initial incident.

Pintu alleges that the ants probably attacked her eye on Sunday night, but the nursing assistants did not notice it.

"I tried to remove the ants from her eyes, but failed. Then I complained to the nursing staff present there, but they insulted me. They even said that removing the ants was not the duty of the nurses, and would only be done after the attendant comes,"  Pintu Chakrabarty alleged.

The situation is so critical that even the acting superintendent of Sambhunath Pandit Hospital, Subrata Adhikari, could not totally overrule the allegations.

Adhikari also admits that it is “not uncommon for ants to bite a highly diabetic patient. According to him, the hospital authorities consider the allegations to be true, and an internal probe has been ordered into the matter. The government has already ordered a five-member panel of senior hospital officials to investigate the lapse.

"If anyone is found liable for this accident, we will take disciplinary action against him or her," Adhikari said.

He also said that just two nurses had to handle as many as 65 patients. "Our hospital does not have the infrastructure to handle critical cases like that of Chakrabarty," he said. WB health minister Suryakanta Mishra said: “There will be investigations into the matter, and if anyone is found guilty or negligent on duty, disciplinary action will be taken.”

Pintu said that had Adhikari informed them about the lack of infrastructure facilities, they would not have admitted her there for treatment.

“We knew what to expect in a state-run hospital, but what we saw was pathetic. There were hardly any senior doctors when we needed them most,” her son-in-law, Amitabh Kar, said.






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