Narada Exclusive: Kerala govt reluctant to probe into real reason behind Attappadi child deaths News Investigation
For a while, the tendency to blame parents for the death of a child has been in practice by doctors and hospitals. Illiteracy in Attappadi makes it easy for the government and doctors to manipulate the actual reasons for death and blame it on parents
Tribal villages in Attappadi have been in news since long time for its terrifying infant mortality rate due to malnutrition and poverty. Since January this year, at least 10 neonatal deaths have been reported from the tribal belts of Attappadi. Though the government claims to be putting efforts to prevent poverty and malnutrition, child deaths continue to stalk the region.
Moreover, lack of prompt medical assistance and negligence on part of medical officials adds to the disastrous situation in Attappadi. An investigation by Sukesh Imam, Narada News reveals the depth of ignorance and escapism shown by the government and medial officials towards the tribal hinterland.
For a while, the tendency to blame parents for the death of a child has been in practice by doctors and hospitals. Illiteracy in Attappadi makes it easy for them to manipulate the actual reasons for death and blame it on parents.
Take the case of Radhamani-Nagaraj couple, whose child died the third day after birth at Coimbatore Medical College. What would be the reason for its death?
Minister AK Balan has explained it in Facebook as “a three-day old infant has died due to oedema caused since its birth”. Newspapers on 15 September, quoting Kottathara Tribal Hospital Superintendent Dr. Prabhudas, reported it was a result of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which in layman's terms means brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain.
(Death cirtificate of Radhamani-Nagaraj's child)
But, the parents were told that their child died due to brain tumor and some problem with heart valves. According to the Coimbatore hospital, it was due to dropsy.
It is a rule that the cause of death should be clearly mentioned in death certificate.
But in the death certificate of the child, it was mentioned in technical terms as HIE. A neurologist told Narada News that “HIE only means that the child had poor oxygenation to the brain, causing it to swell up. It is the end result of the death, not clearly a cause of death. The cause of death should be what resulted in the death”.
It is clear that the reasons provided by the minister, doctor and media were contradictory.
A scan report of gynecologist stated, “Referred as a case of suspected mass effect compressing Right (R) lateral ventricle for expert neonatal care.”
It also mentioned: “no obvious focal intracranial lesions noted sonologically”.
(Scan report of gynecologist)
So, how much reliable is the reason provided by the minister through Facebook?
As said in the beginning, it is easy to blame uneducated parents for the death of their child. But reluctance to address the actual reason would only help to increase the child death rates in the area.
(to be continued...)
Featured Image – Radhamani-Nagaraj's home
Credit – Sukesh Imam