NIT Durgapur Students Continue Protests Alleging That Medical Negligence Killed A Student

Posted on November 23, 2015 in Campus Watch

By Nirjhar Sarkar:

Prosenjit Sarkar’s death on 18th November, 2015 is the fourth death of a student this year in NIT Durgapur, and this time it is due to medical negligence. Till now, all the students have received is silent treatment from an irresponsible Director to avoid the turmoil.

Prosenjit, a fourth year B.Tech student of Electrical Engineering approached the staff at the Medical Unit (MU) of the college several times on 18th November, reporting unease and bad health which had been recurrent for the past couple of days. Friends close to the deceased claim that the unqualified staff at the MU refused to keep him admitted despite visible weakness and poor health. The MU staff at first didn’t agree to admit him, exclaiming that his ailment was an excuse to avoid the semester exams. On being admitted after repeated requests, the MU staff is said to have administered medicines, including an injection in consultation with a physician merely over the telephone who asked the medicine to be administered without a physical or visual examination of the person. The boy was admitted at 2 PM and the doctors arrived at 5 PM.

At 8.30 pm, after being forcefully discharged by the staff, Prosenjit feebly managed to walk back to his hostel residence and was found unconscious only about 15 minutes later, at about 8.45 pm. The hostel residents frantically telephoned the MU to send an ambulance that is supposed to be made available for emergencies at all hours. When the MU said that the ambulance was unavailable, the students requested a doctor to be sent immediately to check the patient and frantically arranged for an auto rickshaw for the patient to be rushed to the Medical Unit. This time the Physician happened to be present at the MU, and he immediately conceded that his low pulse rate condition seemed usual (but ironically, Prosenjit was already dead by that time) and suggested his friends to refer him to the Mission Hospital which is at least 20 minutes away on road, where on arrival, he was declared dead. The time of death was estimated to have been about one and a half hours before. We are talking about a doctor here who can’t verify if a patient is even dead or alive. The doctor later commented after his death that he could not understand his condition.

When the students along with the Chief Warden and the Dean (Student’s Welfare) approached the Director’s Bungalow to discuss the chain of events and seek answers, the Director summarily refused to speak to the students even 90 minutes after the incident. Eventually, more than 150 riot police and RAF were called by the Director to disperse the crowd.

The students of NIT Durgapur have urged for necessary actions against the college management and the staff at the Medical Unit with no action being taken so far till now. An indefinite strike has been convened by the students, and will continue till the demands of the students are met, which are mainly – provision of financial aid to the family of the deceased, taking appropriate legal action against the medical staffs involved, improve the infrastructure of the Medical Unit and bring to the notice of the Ministry the irresponsive nature of Director.

Whenever a student holds a complaint against the administration, he/she is punished for his/her involvement within 24 hours after the incident, but when any college authority or official has been found responsible for such turmoil, there is no other action taken other than futile meetings and higher officials like the Director avoiding the scene.

The Director is responsible for 5000 students residing on this campus but chooses not to address their plight. The Medical Unit (which claims to provide 24 hours medical service) is not equipped with proper infrastructure and staff to deal with serious ailments and has only one ambulance for these 5000 students. Doctors are available for only a few hours, that too mostly on weekdays. Nurses and staff misbehave with students, especially if the students approach the MU during off hours.

Under the directorship of Professor T. Kumar, the Academic section is refusing to sign any official form (like scholarship form, training letter, recruitment letter, bona fide certificate, application form for various competitive examinations like GATE, etc.) for the students and TPSW has threatened to halt placement activities to pressurize the students to call off the strike. This is the scenario every time there is a strike/agitation in this college.

Post the tweets made by the Education Minister in response to thousands of tweets made by concerned students on 21st November, our internet connectivity was pulled out, which possibly cannot happen out of sheer coincidence.

Our ‘Institute of National Importance’ is not a playground to play with the career and health of students. There is a reason why there is a strike/agitation twice every year in this college. Besides, every year a letter to MHRD is drafted with no response from their end. Medical negligence cost the life of a student, and there are hundreds of such incidents where negligence worsened the health of students. Had there been no such Medical Unit at this campus, there were high chances that Prosenjit would have been alive till now.

For more information on our movement to fight for Prosenjit’s justice, please refer to the following link.

Current news: After hearing the news of MHRD officials who will be coming on campus on 23rd November, the Director had a meeting with some final year students on the evening of 22nd November, 2015. The Director was notified of an indefinite protest by the students until their demands were met. Half an hour later after the crowd dispersed from outside the administrative building, a notice was posted on our website threatening the students in the name of their professional career despite the agreement in the meeting on carrying out a peaceful protest.

Here are some pictures of the ongoing protest at NIT Durgapur:

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The facts of this case could not be independently verified.

Photos contributed by author.

The following line in the piece has been changed from “Prosenjit Sarkar’s death on 18th November, 2015 is the sixth horrible death of a student this year due to medical negligence”, to “Prosenjit Sarkar’s death on 18th November, 2015 is the fourth death of a student this year in NIT Durgapur, and this time it is due to medical negligence” on inputs from the author.

The title has also been changed from “NIT Durgapur Remains Mum Over Alleged Medical Negligence That Killed 6, Students Fight On” to “NIT Durgapur Students Continue Protests Alleging That Medical Negligence Killed A Student” on inputs from the author.

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