In less than 24 hours, Rameshwar Mahto had lost three grandchildren and his ordeal was still not over. He watched helplessly as his fourth grandchild, an eight-year-old girl, battled for her life at the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) on Wednesday.
Mahto's grandchildren were among the 22 children who died after consuming mid-day meal at the Dharmasati Gandaman primary school on Tuesday.
The children —a boy and two girls — were three, five and seven, respectively.
"When the children took ill at around 1.30pm they were first taken to the Mashrakh primary health centre. With medical facilities nearly non-existent there, doctors referred the children to the Chapra Sadar hospital. From there, the children were referred to the PMCH," said Mahto.
"It took the administration ten hours to realise the seriousness of the condition before it finally decided to refer the ailing children to the PMCH," he added.