NEW DELHI -- In a heartrending tragedy, the parents of a seven-year-old boy, who died of dengue on September 8, jumped to their deaths from a four-storey building after they failed to get him admitted to a hospital in time.
The parents, who hailed from Kendrapara in Odisha, left a note in Odia, which said, "It is nobody's fault. It is our decision."
On Saturday, CNN-IBN reported that the child had been turned away from Moolchand Medicity and Max Saket, two leading private hospitals in the national capital. He was finally admitted to Batra Hospital, but it was too late to save him.
The medical director of Moolchand Medicity said in a statement to The Indian Express, “The patient was treated and stabilised in our emergency. Given non-availability of inpatient beds, the patient was advised to seek an alternative hospital and ambulance was arranged for safe transfer.”
“We confirm that the patient was in a critical condition due to dengue. The child was brought to us… at 11:05 pm in our casualty department in a very critical condition (on Monday) without pulse and blood pressure. Our physicians directly took the child to our paediatric ICU and gave all appropriate treatment available but despite our best efforts, he did not survive," Batra Hospital said.
On Saturday evening, the Delhi government issued notices to the two private hospitals which refused to admit the seven-year-old boy, NDTV reported.
The Indian Express reported that Laxmichandra and Babita, who lived in a two-room house in the Lado Sarai locality of South Delhi, performed the last rites of their son, Avinash Rout, a class 1 student, on the night of September 8,
Laxmichandra worked at a private firm which provided services to Pizza Hut outlets, and Babita was a homemaker, the newspaper reported. At around 2:30 am, neighbours found the couple's bodies with their hands tied at a government school nearby.
“Babita’s left hand and Laxmichandra’s right hand were tied together with a dupatta. Babita was wearing her nightdress, just as she was when we last saw her about an hour before,” said Kavita Sejwal, their landlord.
Dharmo Devi, Sejwal's mother-in-law, recalled how sick Avinash got on the evening of September 7. "His body turned cold and he complained of pain. When they were taking him away, he told me ‘Dadi, my head will burst’,” she said.
According to Municipal Corporation data, 1,259 cases of dengue have been reported in Delhi till September 5, this year, with over 400 cases in the first week of this month, Press Trust of India reported.
But while the Municipal Corporation claims that only 29 people have died of dengue between 2010 and 2014, the Delhi government puts the figure at 1,221 during the same time period.
In interviews to the Indian Express, neighbours and family members of the deceased couple gave heartbreaking accounts of the tragedy.
“As per our custom, we bury the young, and I remember Laxmichandra sat nearby while we dug the grave. He told us that we should whisper in Avinash’s ears that his mother would be waiting for him. It’s a custom and the belief is that the child will return to the same house when the parents conceive again,” said Gyanendra Debashis, a neighbour, who is also from Odisha.
”When her father, who was on a visit, tried to console her by saying that she could have another baby in a few years, she shouted at him, saying no child would be like Bittu,” said Banalata Moharana, another neighbour.
Recalling his last conversation with Laxmichandra, his colleague, Chandra Bhanu Mohanty, said, “He asked me to go to the cremation ground where his child was buried and light incense sticks. I said it was his responsibility, but he insisted that I do it."