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“Negligence” of the hospital authorities led to the death of 47-day-old baby Afia at Labaid Specialised Hospital on December 27, alleged the child’s parents yesterday.But the Labaid hospital authorities said the parents’ delay in getting the girl released for shifting to another hospital was the reason for her death.Mohammad Shafiqul Islam, father of Afia, said his baby was admitted to Labaid hospital on December 24 and underwent a successful cardiac operation the next day.

“Even after the successful operation, my baby had to die because of not getting proper intensive care unit [ICU] support during the 72-hour post-operative observation period and negligence of the authorities,” he said at a press conference in front of the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) office after the DRU refused to give him space to hold a press conference.

“On December 27, the hospital authorities suddenly informed me at 11:00am that the oxygen supply to the ICU was interrupted and I would have to shift my daughter to another hospital. The problem, however, started at 4:00am,” said Shafiqul.

“I made all arrangements for her shifting, but the hospital authorities kept my ill baby hostage for about half an hour until I paid all the dues worth Tk 7,740. When I took my daughter to another hospital the doctors there declared her already dead,” he said.

When contacted, Coordinator of Labaid Specialised Hospital Mahbubul Hoque told The Daily Star over telephone that the child had congenital cardiac problem and was in a critical condition with lung infection.

“The baby underwent septrostomy, an invasive procedure, on December 25 and was kept in the ICU. As her condition was deteriorating gradually, we informed her parents of it and they agreed to shift the baby,” he said.

He denied that the hospital authorities told the girl’s father about an interrupted oxygen supply and said there was no trouble in the supply. Even an alternative system was ready and the moment the parents wanted to shift the baby, the hospital authorities initiated the emergency procedure to transfer the baby by an ambulance, he said.

The DRU authorities refused to let Shafiqul hold the press conference at its auditorium although he had paid the auditorium’s rent in advance on Sunday.

DRU sources said Shafiqul applied for the reservation saying a press conference will be held on familial matters. But later, the DRU came to know that it was against an institution. The DRU authorities cancelled the booking for providing “false” information and informed Shafiqul of the cancellation on Monday night.