Tension gripped a private hospital in Ekbalpore on Thursday, after a doctor was allegedly slapped by the family member of a woman, who died following childbirth.

Tension started brewing at The Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI) after a heated altercation between family members of the deceased, Pinki Bhattacharya, began over the death of the patient who had given birth to a baby boy on Wednesday.

According to the kin of the patient, the woman in her 30s had been admitted to the hospital on Tuesday for child delivery. The Howrah resident was being treated under a package of Rs.1.50 lakhs and had delivered the child after undergoing a Caesarean yesterday.

Both the child and the mother were said to be fine till the family members last saw them during visiting hours in the evening.

“When we last visited the hospital during evening visiting hours and talked to her, she was absolutely normal,” claimed Tapan Bhattacharya, the husband of the deceased.

“Even during the doctor’s visit at around 9 p.m., she was declared to be normal. Suddenly at 3 a.m. we were informed that her condition was critical and after reaching here we found her dead. After Dr Basab Mukherjee confirming repeatedly that my wife was absolutely healthy, how could she die suddenly? This is nothing but sheer negligence on the part of the doctor who was treating her. Until my child gets a discharge from the hospital, I fear similar negligence (in her case too),” he alleged.

The relatives of the deceased also alleged that there were no doctors available in the ICU when the family members wanted to talk to the doctor-in-charge to find out the reason for the sudden deterioration of the health of their patient. The hospital sources claimed that both the mother and the child were in stable condition throughout the day but the woman’s health deteriorated during the wee hours.

Later, she died of cardiac arrest. Tension aggravated when the gynaecologist, Dr Mukherjee was trying to explain to the deceased’s kin about her sudden passing and advising for a post-mortem, when he was allegedly slapped. Following the commotion, the hospital authorities had to call the police to bring the situation under control.

Later, the deceased’s husband filed a police complaint against the hospital, alleging negligence. According to sources, the hospital management is also considering to file a counter police complaint. The incident brought reactions from the doctors in other hospitals who condemned the alleged attack saying that such acts will discourage the doctors from interacting with and treating patients.

The members of The Bengal Obstetric and Gynaecological Society urged for a thorough investigation to find out the cause of the untimely death of the woman. With contradictory assertions, members of ‘People for Better Treatment,’ an organisation fighting for better health services, have demanded the summarily suspension of the treating physicians and medical personnel pending full investigation.

Notably, in 2017, the hospital was vandalised by a mob of family members of a patient on similar allegations of medical negligence.