A dog in Mango, Jamshedpur, on Sunday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Seven persons, including three children, suffered dog bites on Sunday morning in Jamshedpur’s densely populated Mango, but what perhaps was a bloodier bite was the attitude of the state-run MGM Medical College and Hospital as well as civic body Mango Notified Area Committee (MNAC).
MGM hospital could provide anti-rabies injection to only three on a “first-come, first-serve” basis. The rest were let off with an anti-tetanus injection and the excuse that the “anti-rabies vaccine is out of stock at the emergency ward, today being a Sunday”. Apparently “adequate stock” is locked up at two places in the hospital — the central store and OPD — but employees who take home the keys don’t come on Sunday.
The dog bites occurred in Jawaharnagar, Sankosai and Teachers Colony, all under Mango Notified Area Committee (MNAC). But the civic body, which recently earned kudos from global rating agency Crisil for its website, did not seem either aware or concerned about the problem of stray dogs biting residents.
At 9.30am, Rajiv Kumar, a youth of Teachers’ Colony along Dimna Road saw a brown stray dog with white patches on its chest running after a 10-year-old boy. When he tried to rescue the child from the dog, the canine, angry at this intervention, jumped at the rescuer.
“Before I could understand anything, the dog had bitten my right thigh and left leg. It was so ferocious that it didn’t leave me though I kicked its face,” said Rajiv, who turned up at MGM Medical College and Hospital for treatment of his wounds. He was bitten at two places in the right thigh and left leg.
Another victim, 12-year-old Abhijit Yadav, also at MGM, said he was on his way to buy going to buy pastries from a shop at Sankosai when he was attacked by a brown stray dog and bitten severely.
“I had not provoked the dog. It was standing on the street. Suddenly, it pounced on me and bit me on my left leg,” said the boy.
Both Abhijit and Rajiv appeared to agree that it was the same brown dog with white patches on the chest. They were two of the “late-comers” at MGM who got anti-tetanus serum. Thirteen-year-old Arshad of Jawaharnagar, Mango, who described his attacker as a brown dog, was among the lucky three to get anti-rabies.
“Had it not been a Sunday, then perhaps the anti-rabies injection could have been given to all patients. It has unfortunately run out of stock at the emergency ward,” said the doctor on emergency duty.
MGM Medical College and Hospital superintendent S.S. Prasad explained the Sunday scarcity. “We keep limited stock of anti-rabies injection at the emergency ward. We have adequate stock at the central store and OPD. Today being Sunday, both units were closed. Patients who need anti-rabies shots may come tomorrow to avail them,” Prasad told The Telegraph.
Four persons in Mango mauled by dogs on Friday evening did receive anti-rabies from MGM.
Though the MGM’s attitude smacks of part mismanagement and part helplessness, the MNAC’s reaction can only be termed apathetic.
Though three of the seven victims — Rajiv, Abhijit and Arshad — who could be contacted by The Telegraph agreed on the description of the dog, it can’t be said for certain whether a lone canine had gone berserk or there were others. Dog bites are not a rare occurrence in Mango, though Sunday’s epidemic was rare. But it doesn’t matter, as even MNAC special officer Neeraj Kumar Srivastava said he was “not aware of any dog-bite menace in Mango”.
Then, came the clincher. “Even if we were aware of any stray dog problem, we couldn’t have done anything. We neither have infrastructure to capture dogs and nor there is any instruction as such,” Srivastava said.