For the 26 children battling for life at the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH), prayers are perhaps what they need the most. Reason: Despite competent doctors, medical facilities at the state's premier medical college are abysmally poor.
If doctors are to be believed, only a few apparatuses at the hospital's paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) function. This is where critically ill children, victims of the lethal mid-day meal at Mashrakh in Saran district on Tuesday, 65km from Patna, have been admitted.
Of the 19 infusion pumps that administer life-saving drugs, only two were functional.
Of the six beds in the PICU, none of the monitors attached to them were working. These monitors record heart rates, blood pressures and oxygen saturation levels.
That's not all. If doctors and paramedics are to be believed, even cotton wool is not available. Paracetamol injections, intravenous fluids like normal saline and Ringer lactate and Isolyte P are not in the inventory. Syringes (numbers 5 and 10) were out of stock. Even Xylocaine gel used to insert Ryle's tubes through the mouth were not available.
A doctor not wishing to be named, said, "The government's claims of making available most drugs free of cost to patients sound hollow. Patients' attendants have to buy most drugs we prescribe. But today is an exception. The hospital administration has made available drugs to Mashrakh victims free of cost through a special indent."
Bihar govt gets NHRC notice
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices to the Bihar government over the deaths of 22 children as a consequence of the mid-day meal they had. The principal secretary of Bihar education department and the Saran SP have to submit a report in the matter within four weeks.