Boy dies of snake bite in Mumbai’s Aarey; family blames hospital for delay
The boy died while he was being taken to Cooper Hospital from Jogeshwari.mumbai Updated: Oct 06, 2017 09:23 IST
A six-year-old boy died after being bitten by a snake after at Aarey’s tribal hamlet Vanichapada at unit 5 on Wednesday afternoon.
This is the second snake bite death in Mumbai this year after Yashodha Kadu, 20, was bitten by a Spectacled Cobra while she was asleep on July 12 at Jivachapada in Aarey Colony. While snake bites are common in the city, the forest department said deaths due to such bites were extremely rare. These two deaths in quick succession took place at Aarey after nearly 50 years.
On Wednesday, Raj Ramesh Jhop was rushed by his family to the Balasaheb Thackeray Trauma Centre in Jogeshwari after the incident, where the family alleged that there was a delay in treatment given to the boy. The boy died while he was being taken to Cooper Hospital from Jogeshwari.
According to Sandeep Bhusare, relative of the deceased boy, the incident took place around 2pm on Wednesday when Raj was playing with marbles outside his house along with other children. “While playing, one of the marbles rolled to the backside of his house, which is a densely forested area. In an attempt to get it, he stepped on plastic under which the snake was hiding. The poisonous snake bit Raj on his left leg rendering him unconscious,” he said adding, “After other children informed his parents, they rushed Raj to the trauma centre by 3.30pm.”
A neighbour, on the condition of anonymity, alleged negligence by doctors from the trauma centre led to the child’s death. “Raj could have been saved if timely treatment was given to him but the delay by doctors led to venom spreading faster and he was not administered anti-venom by them,” he said. Jhop however suffered a cardiac arrest at 3.30pm, while being transferred and was declared dead on arrival at Cooper Hospital.
Talking to HT, Dr Shashikant Wadekar, medical superintendent of Balasaheb Thackeray Trauma hospital, Jogeshwari said that they decided to shift the patient since the hospital doesn’t have expert pediatricians of intensive care units for emergency care. “The patient (Jhop) didn’t have any particular symptoms of poisoning and according to the case history, it was a black snake bite but we couldn’t confirm which snake it was or whether it was poisonous,” said Dr Wadekar.
After Jhop was admitted in the hospital, he was given two injections, Ondem (to prevent nausea and vomiting), Pan (to treat gastrointestinal conditions) and tetanus along with intravenous medication. “We have 45 vials of anti-venom, which we use on adults in such cases. In this case, since Cooper Hospital has the PICUs and pediatricians who can handle any complications, we decided to shift him while he was conscious and well oriented,” Dr Wadekar added.
Vanichapada is one of 27 tribal hamlets at Aarey with close to 40 families residing for decades. The incident sparked rage at the village after close to 300 people gathered to protest against the death and lack of facilities at the hamlets. “There have been 12 snake bite incidents and two deaths but the authorities refuse to listen to our plight. There are no streetlights, no lights at homes and we found that at the Aarey hospital there is no equipment to treat snake bite victims at all,” said Prakash Bhoir, Aarey resident and tribal leader, adding that the snake that bit Raj was a cobra.
FOREST DEPARTMENT SPEAKS
Forest department officials said that even after constant reminders local authorities had failed to respond to provide basic civic amenities to tribals. “The incident is most unfortunate. With recurring leopard attacks and snake bites, the removal of garbage and installation of street lights is a must for the protection of citizens. These incidents will continue if there is no action on ground,” said Jitendra Ramgaokar, deputy conservator of forest, Thane.
AAREY AUTHORITIES SPEAK
“We are facing a major shortage of funds, which is supposed to be dispensed to us by the state government for the longest time. Due to this, the installation of street lights, road development work and better facilities at Aarey hospital are on hold. As of now the hospital only treats Aarey employees. We are also working with a major power distributor to light up the tribal homes and depending on proper allocation of funds, all hamlets should be lit up by March next year,” said Nathu Rathod, chief executive officer, Aarey.