None of the 14 colour poisoning patients at Rajawadi hospital, Ghatkopar, were given the antidote treatment offered to the 210 patients admitted to Sion hospital.
Vikas Walmiki, 13, a resident of Kurla Railway Colony, died on Thursday night at Rajawadi. The doctors couldn’t identify the cause of the sickness. They did not carry out the blood tests to check for colour poisoning, said civic sources.
“The cause of the sickness in patients from Kurla Railway Colony who were admitted to Rajawadi hospital is still not known,” said Dr Sanjay Oak, medical director, major hospitals, BMC.
A doctor from the hospital said Walmiki was put on the ventilator two hours after he was brought in. “His blood test parameters were normal. We did not check for methemoglobin levels,” he said.
His post-mortem report said the cause of death could be ascertained after chemical analysis of viscera samples were received.
However, the Dharavi residents at Sion hospital were diagnosed as suffering from a reaction to a chemical reagent in the colour used during Holi. The chemical causes displacement of oxygen from the blood forming methemoglobin. The patients were given an antidote of intravenous methylene blue.
Blood samples of patients from Rajawadi were sent to Sion hospital to test for methemoglobin on Friday morning, confirmed Dr Seema Malik, chief medical officer, peripheral hospitals, BMC.
“The Rajawadi cases are not comparable to the Dharavi cases. Some of the patients had consumed bhaang so we suspected food poisoning. They complained of vomiting and there was no obvious discoloration of skin. We cannot just put children on methylene blue,” said Malik.
Malik said the patients at Rajawadi were checked for blood oxygen saturation levels several times. The doctors did a stomach wash to check for infection.
When HT accessed the case papers of Nitin Waghmare, who was admitted to the ICU at Rajawadi, the 10.30pm entry on Thursday stated “unknown poisoning”. At 12:20pm, the doctors wrote —“case discussed with senior doctors. Advised methylene blue”. Waghmare was transferred to KEM on Friday afternoon after his blood oxygen saturation levels fell. “The doctors from Rajawadi hospital did speak to doctors at Sion hospital. The symptoms of the patients at Rajawadi were typical of food poisoning so the doctors went along with that line of treatment,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner.