Published on: August 30, 2016

The Calcutta edition of the “Telegraph” on 28 August 2016 carried a story, “Snakebite and oxygen-cruelty claim boy”.

The boy, bit by a branded krait, treated in a government hospital at Birbhum needed ventilator support and was referred to a medical college hospital with facilities for it. He would need transportation with oxygen, the family was told, and so they organized an ambulance with oxygen.

But the ward nurses did not permit the oxygen cylinder to be carried during the transfer to the ambulance. The family in desperation, tried to rush him through the few hundred metres to the ambulance, but as the oxygen was removed, the child started gasping and died on the way.

Shocked? Don’t be. This kind of thing is not unusual.  Did you read the story that we had presented to you written by Latha Srikanth – “A Tragedy of Errors”? Latha described another death from the combined cruelty of an insensitive medical system, misinformed, superstitious and misguided family members – all together being much more cruel than the snake.

Well, in the present case, read the response from the hospital as quoted by the Telegraph. The nursing superintendent of the hospital said “oxygen cylinders were not allowed to be taken out of the hospital ‘as a matter of policy’”. And the reason for the policy: “We have no one to bring the cylinders back”.

Hail policy!

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