BANGALORE: It took a poor couple a desperate scramble to three hospitals before they could get their 18-month-old son treated for dog bite on Monday.
The boy was bitten by four strays when he was standing outside his house, with a slice of bread in hand, in JP Nagar 9th Phase.
Doctors said he had 60 to 70 deep cuts on his head, neck, back and limbs. He is said to be out of danger, but is under observation in ICU.
The dogs attacked Kumaraswamy, son of Nagamma and Ramesh, daily-wage workers, at 6 am. “We were getting ready for work. Our neighbours brought the wounded boy to us,” Ramesh told Express. Kumaraswamy is the youngest of three children. His parents first took him to Siddalingaiah Memorial Hospital, Konankunte, where they were charged `5,000.
The hospital did some basic dressing on the wounds, but did not treat the boy for dog bite, Ramesh said.
As the hospital demanded more money, the couple rushed him to Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital. There he was given an anti-rabies injection, but the hospital did not have any immunoglobulin vaccine, which equips the immune system to neutralise bacteria and viruses.
The couple then took him to the BBMP Referral Hospital on Siddaiah Road, where the medicine was in stock, but no doctors were in sight. The couple rushed back to KIMS with the medicine.
BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana said he would initiate action against the missing doctors.
A Full Week of Observation
Kumaraswamy, now at K C General Hospital, will be observed closely for rabies over the next seven days.
Dr Lakshmipathi S R, senior pediatrician, told reporters the stray dogs would also be watched.
“If any of the dogs die, there is a chance the child may have contracted rabies. We have to wait a week and continuously scan his brain,” he said.
Dr Jagdish S Ganagi, senior surgeon, told Express Kumaraswamy had been given all necessary vaccinations. “We will keep his mother with him because he still breastfeeds,” he explained.
Dr Ravish H S, associate professor at the community medicine department in KIMS, is worried about the depth of the wounds. “The head and limbs show deep cuts, so there was a lot of bleeding,” he said.
Parents Should be Careful: Mayor
Mayor Shanthakumari, who visited K C General Hospital, blamed the parents for the incident.
“They left the child and went inside. The stray dogs attacked him to grab the slice of bread,” she told Express.
“Our officials are regularly doing animal birth control for dogs. The numbers of strays has come down. When the strays don’t get food, they tend to attack when they see food,” she said.
The state government is bearing the cost of Kumaraswamy’s treatment. “I just gave the parents `10,000 from the Mayor’s fund,” she said.
She refused to accept the alleged absence of doctors at the BBMP hospital.
“This hospital works 24/7. Doctors and medicines are always available. It does not have an ICU, and so doctors suggested moving the child to KIMS,” she claimed.
In September 2012, a two-and-a-half-year-old girl was bitten by stray dogs at Sampangiramanagar. Madhumita was rushed to Dasappa Hospital, the BBMP Referral Hospital, Vanivilas Hospital and finally to KIMS. Her parents ran about for four hours and visited four hospitals before they could get her treated.