SC to hear on June 24 plea on encephalitis outbreak in Bihar's Muzaffarpur

Published: Jun 19, 2019, 15:08 IST | mid-day online desk

The petitioners have also sought direction to constitute a fact-finding committee to determine the role of people who were negligent

SC to hear on June 24 plea on encephalitis outbreak in Bihar's Muzaffarpur
Representational image

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a plea to seek direction to constitute a team of medical experts for the treatment of children suffering from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district.

A vacation bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant said it would take up the public interest litigation (PIL) on Monday after advocate Manohar Pratap mentioned the matter for urgent hearing.

The petition which was filed by two advocates has sought a direction to the Centre and the Bihar government to immediately arrange a 500-bed ICU (intensive care unit) with required medical professionals to deal with the emergent situation, which has occurred due to the outbreak of AES.

The petitioners have also sought direction to constitute a fact-finding committee to determine the role of people who were negligent.

The PIL submitted that the Bihar government should pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceased.

Despite encephalitis claiming lives of 112 children in Muzaffarpur, apathy seems to have plagued the administration as the state-run hospital lacks basic infrastructure facilities and hygiene.

The sight of Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), where over 300 children ailing with encephalitis were admitted, is dismal, to say the least.

"The condition has remained the same for a long time. There's no bed for the patients and we don't have any other place to go with our ailing children. It is not safe to stay like this in the summer along with many patients as the health of both bystander and the patient will deteriorate," an attendant accompanying a child said.

Some even alleged lack of staff and medical negligence.

"The doctor barely comes to visit us. My leg was wounded after I met with an accident and it has to be cleaned in alternate days, but it is not the condition here. They clean it only after 7-8 days," Ratan Singh, a patient, told ANI.

"Nobody pays heed to us and the doctor doesn't even come and check upon us. I was admitted here on June 5. Since then, the doctor had visited the patients twice or thrice," said another patient.

For those unversed, Encephalitis is a viral disease that causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions and headache.

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