Epileptic Kids Made to Travel in Rickety Jeep for 10 Hours
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18 July 2011
State defies HC order to bring the two critically ill boys, rescued from an Aurangabad home, to Mumbai in ambulance
Some people never mend their ways. It appears that even strictures from courts have no bearing on them. Officials at the state’s Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) fall in this category. The officials shifted two critically ill kids rescued from a home for the mentally challenged in Aurangabad to Mumbai in a rickety jeep on Saturday. Through the 10-hour journey, the kids suffering uncontrollable epilepsy were put through a lot of discomfort.
This, despite a standing order from Bombay High Court (HC) – which is hearing a suo moto PIL about the condition of homes for mentally deficient children in the state – to bring the two severely ill kids to Mumbai for specialised treatment in an ambulance to avoid medical complications. The apathy on the part of the state has irked the HC-appointed Apex Committee.
"In the past, when another inmate was brought to Mumbai in similar manner, we had expressed our anguish in the HC and even stated the same in the report. The department was instructed that the kids be checked before being transported and brought in ambulances with doctors and medical attendants. Once again the state has not followed orders. We will take this up very sternly before the court," said Dr Asha Bajpai, chairperson of the Committee.
The officials did not also care to bring the children’s medical records, which are essential for further treatment, leaving the caretakers in Mumbai completely helpless.
The rickety jeep did not have any kind of provision to handle severely physically and mentally disabled children. There was no bedding or cushions for their twisted and stiff limbs.
The kids were inmates of Mamta Matimanda Mulanche Balgruha in Aurangabad. In May, the Apex Committee members paid a surprise visit to the home and found that all the 44 inmates were kept in pathetic living conditions. Two had died due to poor care.
The children were malnourished, underweight and starving. All of them had scabies, boils and pockets of inflammation and pus. They begged for food from the Apex Committee members. The condition of the home was absymal with no food or drinking water. Those who had epilepsy were not given anti-epileptic medicines due to which many of them had injuries and burn wounds following falls after the attacks.
After the visit the kids were shifted to different homes and hospitals. Two of the boys have been critical since their rescue. Another such critical case was shifted recently to Mumbai for specialised treatment. But he was also transported in a private jeep. The Apex Committee members were shocked as the boy’s condition had worsened due to the gruelling journey in the rickety vehicle.
The Apex Committee members had raised the issue in a recent HC hearing which ordered that the kids be brought to Mumbai for further treatment. HC also ordered that they be shifted from Dhule, where they were recuperating, in ambulances with proper care.
Harish Rathod, deputy commissioner of DWCD, said, "Our local officers were instructed to shift them in well-equipped ambulances. I will personally follow-up with the officers there and take necessary action," he said.