A two-and-half-year old girl, a suspected victim of Endosulfan spraying, died allegedly after she failed to receive timely medical care.
Authorities at the General Hospital here have suspended the paediatrician charging him with dereliction of duty.
Prajitha, daughter of Sasidharan and Jayanthi, from Nattakallu near Mulleria, one of the worst Endosulfan- affected localities in the district, died at a private hospital around 9.00 a.m.
Prajitha had been suffering from breathing problems suspected to have been caused by prolonged aerial spraying of Endosulfan in the district. As her condition worsened late Wednesday night, her parents took her to the General Hospital.
However, the hospital authorities are said to have refused to admit the child stating that the paediatrician was on leave, and suggested that the child be taken to the doctor’s house.
The doctor, Narayana Naik, who diagnosed the child, asked them to go back to the General Hospital stating that he would follow them, the parents said. The doctor, however, did not reach the hospital till late in the night.
The doctor also charged Rs. 100 as his consultation fee, though the parents had the State government’s ‘Snehaswanthwanam’ card for suspected Endosulfan victims.
The condition of the child turned worse late in the night, and she was shifted to the nearby Kasaragod Institute of Medical Science (KIMS) where she died Thursday morning. The body of the child was taken to the Pariyaram Cooperative Medical College Hospital for post-mortem.
As the news spread, an angry group of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) workers barged into the Office of the Superintendent of the General Hospital, and held protests in front of the office. The police found it difficult to control the situation as a large number of people, including anti-endosulfan activists, streamed into the hospital. DFYI members also attacked the private clinic of Dr. Naik later in the day.
The activists of Solidarity Movement also held a protest march in the district. The protesters waylaid District Medical Officer (DMO) Jose D’Cruze urging him to take immediate action against the doctor. Mr. D’Cruze said the State Health Minister directed him to suspend the doctor based on the report he submitted.
Unnikrishnan, driver of the General Hospital ambulance in which the child was shifted to the private hospital, was also suspended from service for allegedly collecting charges for the conveyance, the DMO said.
Sources here said the government doctors are planning hold a meeting later in the day to chalk out programmes to protest the suspension of the doctor, who was officially on leave from May 2.