The Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee led West Bengal government has suspended a doctor employed with the Barasat district hospital for putting out in a Facebook post the alleged ”pressure” by the state government for suppressing facts relating to the dengue menace in the state. Dr Arunachal Dutta Choudhury, a chest physician in the general medicine department of the government hospital in North 24 Parganas district on October 8 had written a post in Bengali about the situation of the state hit by dengue menace. He claimed in the posts that 500 people were admitted to the hospital on October 6 and wrote about his struggle to diagnose the patients many of whom were lying on the floor.
The post read, ” October 6 was my admission (duty) day. From 9 am that day to 9 am the next day, I was responsible for patient admissions, referrals and even death. After spending 24 hours (on duty), what will my condition be?” He further wrote, ” Every patient was suffering from fever. Many of them had blood reports stating that they had dengue… But doctors couldn’t attend to them as there were around 500 patients… District health authorities have been saying that the hospital has all necessary arrangements (to tackle dengue). But the hospital management is helpless. There is an unwritten instruction to hide the fact that the hospital lacks necessary facilities. Or else, there will be pressure.” He also tagged two pictures with the post- one showing a whiteboard with details of the number of patients and staff in the ward and the other showing 250 patients admitted under him and three nurses assigned to take care.
The post attracted several comments, with other doctors sharing their stories about working in government hospitals and dealing with the vector-borne disease. On November 10, state health department initiated an inquiry against Choudhury and was handed a suspension letter which called his post ”derogatory” “unverified and misleading statistics”. According to the health department, there have been 19 deaths in state-run hospitals since January and over 18,000 cases were reported in various government clinical establishments. Opposition parties have been alleging that the Mamata Banerjee government is trying to suppress the number of deaths because of dengue in the state.