A Hospital Murdered My Two-Year-Old, And I Was Helpless

It’s barely been a month since my two-year-old daughter passed away. We haven’t had the time to grieve yet.

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My Report
6 min read

My name is Shampa Paul Dey. My daughter Oyteri Dey was two-years-and-five-months-old.

She was a very friendly child. She liked to talk, act and was a complete dramebaaz. At the age of two-and-a-half, she used to do so many things with us. She was very special. We had her after seven years of our marriage as I had multiple miscarriages. But one act of negligence, and we lost her.

Oyetri was admitted to AMRI Hospital Mukundapur on 15 January 2018 with a normal complaint of fever, cold and cough. Our regular paediatrician was not there on that particular day. So we chose another pediatric, Dr Joyeeta Sengupta to take a look at her. We were told that she has a normal tonsil gland infection due to which she was getting whooping cough. She needed to be nebulised. We told the doctor that in November, her regular doctor had prescribed the same, so we nebulised her at home. But she said no, this can’t be done at home. She had to be nebulised with oxygen and it was urgent. They also needed to run some tests on her, they said.

Two-year-old Oyetri Dey was admitted to AMRI Hospital in Mukundapur, Kolkata on 15 January 2018, with complaints of fever, cough and cold.
Two-year-old Oyetri Dey was admitted to AMRI Hospital in Mukundapur, Kolkata on 15 January 2018, with complaints of fever, cough and cold.
(Photo: Ishadrita Lahiri/The Quint)

Like all mothers, I did not want to refuse the doctor’s orders. So my husband and I started making preparations to get her admitted. We were told the examination would take about two days. At the time that she was admitted, she didn’t even have fever. She had a normal cough. She was being nebulised at regular intervals.

In between one of her nebulising sessions, we were told by the doctor that the medicine being administered to her was a “rare” medicine, and must be “used fully”. I asked her what she meant by “rare’’ medicine. However, all I was told is that it would get rid of her whooping cough. 
Shampa Paul Dey with Oyetri on her first birthday.
Shampa Paul Dey with Oyetri on her first birthday.
(Photo: Ishadrita Lahiri/The Quint)

A little while later, a sister (nurse) did an intravenous (IV) channel on her. I found it a little weird because she was not on any kind of saline drip. She was consuming food through her mouth. Only the medicines were given via IV. So I questioned the sister on the same and she said. “I don’t know ma’am. This is what the doctor has prescribed”.

They didn’t do any allergy test (as is procedure) for the antibiotics that were being given to her.

The next day, the doctor asked me if she had slept well. I said yes and the doctor said that’s a sign of recovery. She will get well in about a day’s time. At that time, she asked me if I wanted to transfer her back to her original paediatrician. As a sign of goodwill and humanity, I said no. As long as my daughter was getting well, I was fine. That entire day, my daughter was perfectly fine. Her symptoms had ceased to show.

Shampa looks at old photo albums of Oyetri.
Shampa looks at old photo albums of Oyetri.
(Photo: Ishadrita Lahiri/The Quint)
Around 6 pm, during visiting hours, her father went to visit her as did some relatives. She talked to them, played with them as well as other kids in the ward as well. She said “Didi, Dada, Hi, Hello,” to them.

At 10 pm, she had dinner, and a little later, started feeling lethargic. The amount of urine that she was passing, went down. I called the sister and relayed the information to her. They measured her diaper and said that this might be a symptom of something else. They gave her something called IV Volus – I still remember the name – and she passed urine in 45 minutes. I thought all was okay and slept next to her that night. We slept peacefully.

A Hospital Murdered My Two-Year-Old, And I Was Helpless
(Photo: Ishadrita Lahiri/ The Quint)
Around 5.45am on 17 January, a sister came into our room. I always asked her about every injection administered to my daughter. She was sleeping and the sister firmly gave her two injections. I asked the sister about the injections, and she said it was “Augmentin”. After the injections, my daughter started feeling restless and it felt like she wanted to vomit but was unable to. She was unable to breathe either. I immediately called a sister and asked for a doctor. The sister went away and didn’t come back. I started screaming for the doctor at this point. I was helpless. I was begging for a doctor, for some oxygen. I could feel that something was horribly wrong with my daughter. 

In about five-six minutes, the doctor-in-charge came in. He asked me why I was shouting. “Don’t panic so much”, he said. “We are here to look after your daughter”. I told the doctor that something was going wrong with her.

The doctor asked the sister to get an oxygen mask. The sister promptly replied that it was occupied with some other bed and couldn’t be brought to her. The doctor then asked for a saturation machine which was also not working. You can understand what my situation was when I heard all this. This was an emergency service and nothing seemed to be working. By that time, my daughter collapsed on my lap. Her lips turned blue. The last word I heard from her was “Mamma”. 
On 17 January 2018, Oyetri collapsed in her mother’s arms after she was administered two injections by the nurses.
On 17 January 2018, Oyetri collapsed in her mother’s arms after she was administered two injections by the nurses.
(Photo: Ishadrita Lahiri/The Quint)

The doctor then instructed the nurse to take my baby away from me. They conducted some tests, took her to the ICU, and two hours later, they gave me the verdict that my daughter was no more.

Oyetri’s school bag, among others, are all her parents have to remember her by.
Oyetri’s school bag, among others, are all her parents have to remember her by.
(Photo: Ishadrita Lahiri/The Quint)
Oyetri’s toys and school things are all her parents have to remember her by.
Oyetri’s toys and school things are all her parents have to remember her by.
(Photo: Ishadrita Lahiri/The Quint)

It was right then and there that I knew this was medical negligence and my and husband and I filed a case at the police station.

Later, I got to know that the cause of death was asphyxia, ie, lack of oxygen. We were charged for five oxygen masks in our bill. Where were these masks when my daughter was madly waiting for it? 

Our case is against the hospital – AMRI Mukundapur, pediatrician Dr Joyeeta Dey and the doctors and sisters-in-charge, who were very poorly trained and had no idea what they were doing. Being a parent, I’m not even a medical person, I could see that it was medical negligence.

The Deys’ complaint to the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission
The Deys’ complaint to the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission
(Photo: Ishadrita Lahiri/The Quint)
Like all other mothers, I used to go to sleep and hope that this was a bad dream. I’d keep asking my husband and he’d keep saying that it’s not a dream. It’s true. All I want is that whatever happened to me, shouldn’t happen to any other mother. I hope they don’t have to lose their children to medical negligence, because after God, if we consider anyone as saviours, it is the doctor. And in my case, the doctor murdered my child.

We will fight till the end until those behind my daughter’s death are punished. So that in the future, there is no case of negligence by any hospital.

(Editor’s Note: The Deys have since then met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who has assured of help.

From 2 February 2018, they have been appearing before the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission, in which they have lodged a complaint against AMRI Mukundapur hospital.

On 20 January, AMRI Hospitals suspended its Mukundapur facility unit head, Jayanti Chatterjee in connection with Oyetri’s death. The hospital also set up an internal committee to investigate the alleged medical negligence in the death.

“Our internal committee report shows no negligence on our part. The case is in trial. We will think about a further course of action once a judgement is pronounced”, said a spokesperson of AMRI Hospitals.

On 7 February, an independent forensic expert appointed by the parents said that “an injection called Augmentine administered on two-and-a-half-year-old Oyetri Dey over three days that led to her death”. The report was submitted to the Commission.

On 23 February, the nurses named in the case deposed before the Medical Commission saying that they didn’t have their degree certificates yet.

We will keep updating this piece with the details of the case.)

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