Unable to pay for dengue treatment, Tamil Nadu woman throws son into well, kills self
Around 3.30am, the husband found his wife and six-month-child missing and it was in the morning that his neighbours found their bodies in the well near their house; dengue has claimed 27 lives in Tamil Nadu so far.Updated: Oct 04, 2017 17:42 IST
A 32-year-old woman in Tamil Nadu’s Namakkal district threw her six-month-old son into a well on Monday night and jumped after him as she was unable to pay for her child’s treatment, who was suffering from suspected dengue that has gripped the southern state.
P Anbukodi and her husband Perisaswamy, a barber, of Belukurichi village took their child to a private hospital in Salem on Monday morning after he fell ill. After some tests, the hospital confirmed he was suffering from dengue and presented a huge bill that worked out to Rs 5,000 per day.
Periyasamy and Anbukodi returned to Belukuruchi with their son around 11pm on Monday as they could not afford the treatment. At around 3.30am, Perisaswamy found his wife and child missing and it was only in the morning that his neighbours found their bodies in the well near their house, police said.
The fire and rescue department personnel retrieved the bodies from the well and they have been sent to Rasipuram government hospital for post-mortem examination. Police have registered a case and further investigations are on.
The tragic case highlights the urgency to tackle the disease that has already claimed 27 lives in Tamil Nadu so far. And, 10,000 cases of various fevers have also been reported in the state.
The state’s public health system is overwhelmed as the number of people suffering from the viral infection that is spread by the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito is increasing. People complain of overcrowded government hospitals, delayed diagnosis and that they are made to suffer forcing them to go to private hospitals.
The government has allocated Rs 16 crore for mosquito eradication programme. But the problem, a government health official said, is that the dengue-spreading mosquito breeds in clean water which makes it difficult for workers to achieve significant success.
“We can only spread awareness and ask people to take precautions. They must know that they are breeding the villains in their own homes,” said P Bhanu, director medical health and rural health services, the department responsible for containing dengue.
Bhanu, who is in charge of all the 300 government hospitals in the state, lamented that people do not necessarily take precautions when they catch fever in the monsoon season.
“They often self-medicate on the first day, on the second day they may consult a doctor and only on the third day they think of visiting a hospital. Please do not neglect any fever in the monsoon months until December,” Bhanu said.
“Once we get a confirmation of dengue case, we immediately send the anti-dengue operation people to that area and it takes 21 days to completely sanitise the area. But it requires the cooperation of the people and they must take many precautions — keeping the water containers tightly closed, not allowing water to accumulate,” she said.
All the big government hospitals are equipped with testing facilities, she added.
“Please come to a hospital in the first instance and not after dengue has led to haemorrhagic shock syndrome, which is the advanced stage of the disease,” she appealed.
First Published: Oct 04, 2017 10:19 IST