No dignity after death for boy who died of snakebite in MP
Red tape, official apathy and alleged medical negligence made a poor father go round in circles after losing his 12-year-old son to a fatal snake bite on Monday in this mofussil town in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district.indore Updated: Sep 07, 2016 11:44 IST
Red tape, official apathy and alleged medical negligence made a poor father go round in circles after losing his 12-year-old son to a fatal snake bite on Monday in this mofussil town in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district.
The boy, Pankaj Garwar, was bitten by a poisonous snake on Monday afternoon at Chotti Pipalghunt village under Meghnagar development block, and the family took him to snake charmer soon after.
As the quack failed to revive the convulsing boy, father Pagu Garwar took him to Meghnagar community health centre (CHC), where doctors referred him to Dahod government hospital.
However, precious time was lost by then and doctors at Dahod declared him dead on arrival around 5.30pm.
The distraught father brought the body to the Meghnagar health centre for official post-death formalities, but doctors there refused to conduct an autopsy, saying the family needs to inform police first.
Garwar then took the body to Meghnagar police station, where the officer allegedly refused to register a case because the family’s village falls under the jurisdiction of Rabhapur police outpost, about 7km from the police station.
The refusal forced the father to hire a jeep and take the corpse to Rabhapur. Dusk has descended by then, and policemen at the outpost told Garwar to come next morning since they have no facility to keep a body there.
Left with little option, the father returned to the village with the body. Around 7am on Tuesday, he again went to Rabhapur police outpost, but he was allegedly kept waiting for about three hours before a case was registered and “panchnama” prepared.
When he finally got the papers, Garwar again hired a jeep to the Meghnagar health centre. But upon reaching their destination, the jeep driver refused to take the vehicle inside the hospital premises, forcing the family to get down at the gates, about 100 metre from the mortuary.
The hospital allegedly didn’t provide the father a stretcher, forcing Garwar to carry his lifeless son on his shoulder.
Doctors finally handed the body around 2pm on Tuesday after the autopsy, nearly 24 hours since the boy’s death, his uncle Tufan Singh said.
Meghnagar chief block medical officer, Dr Vikram Varma, denied that the family was not provided a stretcher. “We don’t know how and when Pagu came back with his son’s body. But as soon as we got information, we immediately helped him.”
Police dismissed the father’s accusations.
“Nobody came to us on Monday … Rabhapur police registered a case at 8pm on Monday,” said Meghnagar police station in-charge ML Bhabore.
The incident comes close on the heels of a similar tragedy at Ratangarh village in Neemuch district where the family of a dead tribal woman had to wait for hours as an employee of a crematorium refused to give firewood for her cremation.