The Gandaman Primary School children at PMCH
Patna, Aug. 5: Saran civil surgeon Vinay Yadav today said he refused to take back the 15 midday meal children discharged by Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) because of their health and not any law and order problem.
On Sunday, while the PMCH administration was all set to release the children, Yadav came and stopped 15 of the 24 children from being released, saying their homecoming will create law and order problems at Chhapra and the Dharmasati-Gandaman village.
He argued with them for over an-hour-and-a-half and even said that if some of the children were discharged, villagers would construe that the other children were not well and rumours would fly. Ultimately, the state health department stepped in and asked PMCH not to release the children.
But on Monday, Yadav told The Telegraph that law and order was never an issue. “The law order situation in the district and the village is perfectly fine. The medication of 15 children who were to be released was stopped in the last three days. Once medication was stopped, some of them showed a relapse syndrome. So, we asked for two more days, to be doubly sure that the children were okay. In these two days, PMCH doctors will keep them under observation to ensure they are perfectly fine. On Tuesday, all 15 children will be taken back home,” Yadav said.
“I want to say that there is no law and order issue and we were just concerned about the health of the children,” Yadav said.
But PMCH was not convinced. “The 15 children who were to be released were not given atropine for three days. None of them showed any signs of relapse. Then how can the doctors in Chhapra say this? We have been treating the children since they came here and we are sure that the 15 children are fit to go home and none of them has shown any signs of relapse. He (Yadav) had stated law and order reasons on Sunday,” an attending doctor at the paediatric ward of PMCH said.
Twenty-four children and Gandaman Primary School cook Manju Devi were admitted to PMCH on July 16-17, following the midday meal horror that claimed 23 lives.
PMCH superintendent Amar Kant Jha Amar refused to get into a debate, saying simply that the 15 children would be released tomorrow.
Of the remaining nine children, four are being given minimal atropine dosage while five others are being treated with a higher dose.
“The Saran district administration and the civil surgeon have been claiming they have satisfactory stocks of atropine at Chhapra Sadar Hospital and the Masrakh Primary Health Centre. Then why are they talking about being over-cautious when we have said the children are fit to go,” the attending doctor asked.
Even Saran district magistrate Abhijit Sinha denied any law and order issue. “The doctors here wanted to be sure about their health and hence the children were not brought back. The law and order situation is absolutely perfect and there isn‘t any problem,” Sinha told The Telegraph.