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Antivenin crunch kills boy

Brajesh’s father Loknath Yadav at Hazaribagh Sadar Hospital on Sunday. Picture by Vishvendu Jaipuriar

An 11-year-old Hazaribagh schoolboy, bitten by a snake while helping his mother in the field on Sunday morning, died on his way to Ranchi because the local hospital ran out of antivenin.

The incident, which once again mirrors the deplorable state of healthcare in Jharkhand, triggered angry protests till late afternoon, with bereaved family members stone-pelting the OPD of Hazaribagh Sadar Hospital into shutdown and BJP heavyweights threatening indefinite closure of the heal hub if anti-venom vials weren’t procured immediately.

Brajesh Yadav, a Class VI student of Rajkiya Utkramit Madhya Vidyalaya in Mangarpatta village of Churchu block, 30km from town, suffered an Indian cobra bite around 9am. His poor farmer father Loknath Yadav and mother Panwa Devi hired a three-wheeler and rushed him to hospital around 10.25am. But, OPD doctors Gobind Narayan and R.N. Singh referred the boy to RIMS in Ranchi because they did not have the life-saving anti-venom serum or AVS.

A snakebite victim may need six to 15 vials of antivenin, depending on the nature and intensity of poison, and each costs around Rs 900, which is supposed to be administered for free at any government hospital.

Brajesh was way too unlucky. While the sadar hospital did not have the lifesaving injection, his parents did not find a single vial in retail medicine stores. The boy died on NH-33 around 11.05am.


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