The family of a 14-year-old girl who died of swine flu Monday due to "delayed treatment" has threatened civil and criminal action against the private hospital where she was admitted.
Fourteen-year-old Rida Shaikh died at the Jehangir Hospital here. She was suffering from the influenza A (H1N1) virus infection for a fortnight. Her upset family Tuesday said that they would sue the hospital for negligence and give all the money to charity.
"We will take civil and criminal action against the hospital. The family will also sue the hospital for damages and get a huge sum of money. We are not interested in the money. The money will be given to charity," Asif Lampwala, the family lawyer said at a press conference here.
Rida had consulted a general practitioner July 21 when she first reported flu-like symptoms - sore throat, runny nose, headache. When her condition improved, she joined school on July 23.
According to a health ministry statement, she again developed fever on July 25, and consulted another private practitioner. Her fever continued and she was admitted to the Jehangir Hospital July 27.
Her condition worsened and she was shifted to the ICU and put on the ventilator on July 29. Her sample was sent to the National Institute of Virology on July 31 and found to be positive for swine flu. She was put on Oseltamivir or Tamiflu on July 30. But her condition deteriorated and she died Monday, the first death in the country because of H1N1 virus.
An upset and emotional Sajid Shaikh, Rida's father, said: "If they (the private hospital) had sent Rida's samples to the NIV earlier, probably my daughter would have been alive today."
Her aunt, Ayesha Shaikh, added: "We didn't know then, but now we know that Ruby Hall, where Rida's samples were sent for tests initially, was not authorised (to test for swine flu)."
"Initially the hospital said she was suffering from pneumonia, then they said she was suffering from some respiratory disorder. When her lungs got affected they told us that there was nothing to worry because her other organs were not affected.
"When we realised what the truth was, it was too late," she added.
On Monday, union Health Secretary Naresh Dayal said in New Delhi that the girl was given anti-flu medicine at a very late stage.
"It appears she was treated late. If she had been treated earlier, she could have been saved," Dayal said.