Baby Kumari with her grandfather at MGM Medical College and Hospital on Wednesday. (Animesh Sengupta)
Relatives and neighbours of a six-year-old dog bite victim created a ruckus at MGM Medical College and Hospital after the government-run health hub asked them to buy rabies vaccine from outside.
Around 15 people, who had accompanied Baby Kumari of Sankosai in Mango to the Sakchi hospital, had an altercation with the doctors at the emergency ward and even tried to ransack furniture. But senior medical officers intervened and prevented them from indulging in violence.
However, the protests did not lessen the ordeal for the girl or her poor parents (father Pasupatinath Prajapati is a carpenter), who had to buy one vial of the vaccine costing Rs 360 from the market.
“We are poor people, who cannot afford expensive treatment and hence, brought our child to MGM Medical College and Hospital, thinking that the rabies vaccine would be free here. But to our shock, the doctors told us to get it from outside,” said the girl’s uncle, Pramod Prajapati, also a carpenter.
According to doctors’ advice, Pramod added, Baby was supposed to be administered six vials of the vaccine. “We purchased one injection from the market. We don’t know how we will be able to manage the rest,” he added.
One of the protesters, Samir Paramanik, claimed they became angry because on an earlier occasion too, the hospital had said that the rabies vaccine.
“In a city where stray dogs roam around menacingly, children and the elderly people often fall prey to them. But this government hospital never keeps the rabies injection,” Parmanik alleged.
S.K. Chowdhury, superintendent, MGM Medical College and Hospital, however, denied that the hospital was facing shortage of the vaccine.
“We have sufficient stock of the injection, which was procured last month only. It seems that there was some communication gap between the officials maintaining the stock of medicines and the doctors on emergency duty. However, we can offer only one vial and the patients will have to buy the rest from the market,” he added.
East Singhbhum civil surgeon L.B.P. Singh said dog bite victims were entitled to free vaccine at the sadar hospital in Khasmahal and primary health centres provided there was sufficient stock.