| Head of department, paediatrics, Patna Medical College and Hospital, SR Choudhary interacts with the children on Friday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
The paediatrics ward of Patna Medical College and Hospital is slowly filling up with the laughter of the children recovering from food poisoning and midday meal trauma.
Parents are happy to see their wards recovering, while the children battling for their lives till a few days back are eagerly waiting to return home. But the road to recovery for the Gandaman Primary School students has been difficult.
Raju Mahto, the father of Class II student Preman Kumari, said: “I had lost all hope and had thought I would lose my only child, but now she is okay. Today, if I am smiling again, all credit goes to the doctors of PMCH.”
Forty-one-year-old Raju is not the only one all praises for the doctors and the hospital administration.
His elder brother, Laldeo, is relieved to see his six-year-old daughter recovering from having the toxic insecticide-laced food. The farmer from Masrakh has already lost his elder daughter Priyanka to the tragedy.
Recalling the chaos in Saran, Laldeo said: “There was only one doctor at the primary health centre where all the 38 children were initially treated. As he was alone, he found it difficult to attend to every patient. At the sadar hospital also, the treatment was not showing positive results. But the situation was completely different at the PMCH. Doctors were available here round-the-clock at the time the children were critical. Even now, the doctors come running to us at one call.”
Dr Nigam Prakash Narayan, paediatric unit-in-charge, said: “The children have shown remarkable progress but some of them are still showing signs of having monocrotophos in their body. So, we are continuing with the drugs. We might release them on Tuesday. The final decision has to be taken by the panel of doctors treating the children.”
The young students are excited about returning home.
Preman told The Telegraph: “Main zeher khanewali bachchi hoon, par ab main thik hoon. Mujhe jaldi se jaldi ghar jana hai (I am one of the children who consumed the poison-laced food. Now that I am alright, I want to go back home soon).”
But like many of the children who lost their best buddies, and even brothers and sisters, to the tragedy, Preman’s excitement is tinged with sorrow. Raju said: “She often searches for her cousin, Priyanka. We have told her that she is no more but she is finding it difficult to accept it.”