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Hospitals turn away, rodents devour

Calcutta, Sept. 20: A critically ill Prasanna Mondal, rushed from Burdwan for better treatment, spent half a day doing the rounds of hospitals before finding place in NRS Medical College and Hospital. But it was too late for the 13-year-old — he died a day later.

Worse was in store, if any fate worse than death is possible. When Prasanna’s body was pulled out of the morgue this morning (he died last night), it was found that chunks of his face and hand had been devoured by rodents.

The beginning of Prasanna’s end was four days ago, when a snake bit him near his Shaktinagar residence. Though antidotes were administered in Burdwan Medical College and Hospital, Prasanna’s condition deteriorated. He developed high fever and lay inert.

His father, Buddhadeb, moved him to Calcutta on Thursday. He said his first destination was SSKM hospital. He was turned away from the emergency department “as there was no vacancy”.

A dejected Mondol next arrived at the nearby Sambhunath Pandit Hospital. A similar fate awaited him there. Authorities at the two hospitals, however, said they had no knowledge of Prasanna being turned away.

“I was totally devastated and did not know what to do till somebody told me that Prasanna could be admitted to NRS hospital,” said Mondol. Doctors began treatment, but it was too late. “Had he been given treatment earlier, he could have been saved. But given his condition when he was brought to us, there was very little we could do,” said a doctor in NRS hospital.

Late on Friday evening, Prasanna died. As his family wasn’t around, his body was shifted to the hospital morgue.

Around 10 am today, Mondol learnt that his son had died and went to the morgue. A second shock awaited the father. Portions of Prasanna’s cheek and hands had been gnawed away by the rodents that infest the hospital.

“Is this how you treat the dead'” a distraught Mondol had asked. “This is not the first case of its kind here. There have been other instances when rodents have made off with parts of human body,” said hospital deputy superintendent D.K. Jha.

“Rodents are a big problem. We are renovating the morgue so that rodents do not sneak in,” he added.

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