Toddler dies at NIMHANS after an alleged delay in treatment, parents protest

Reacting to the incident, Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao said arrangements were "not proper" at the NIMHANS.
Representative image of the feet of a toddler
Representative image of the feet of a toddler
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A one-and-a-half-year-old boy succumbed to his head injuries on Wednesday, November 29, allegedly due to the negligence of staff at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru. A 224-km 'green corridor' was established from Hassan to Bengaluru for swiftly transporting the child. The parents protested at NIMHANS on November 30, blaming the hospital for negligence. 

The ambulance driver covered the 224 km distance in 1 hour and 40 minutes, reaching NIMHANS. The son of Venkatesh and Jyothi of Basavanagudi in Chikkamagaluru, had sustained a head injury at home and was initially admitted to the Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences but the doctors recommended transferring the baby to NIMHANS. According to the hospital, the boy had fallen from a height of four feet. 

A call was made to NIMHANS administration about the need for urgent treatment, but the authorities reportedly informed the parents that no beds were available. The parents and ambulance crew were allegedly made to wait for over 90 minutes before the child was admitted to the emergency ward. 

The child ultimately succumbed to his injuries, sparking public outrage and criticism against NIMHANS authorities for neglecting the emergency situation.

“We waited for an hour and half. If they had cooperated, they probably would have been able to save him. The body is still in the ambulance. This is the first time we came to Bengaluru hoping that the baby would be saved and would be fine if we brought him here. I don't know about the beds, I am new here, this is the first time I stepped into Bengaluru. They came and injected something. I don't know anything... they didn't even speak to us and when we went to speak they didn't say anything,” said the child’s father, Venkatesh.

The hospital said in a statement. ''Patient had severe bradycardia (slow heart rate) and (went into) cardiac arrest at 3 PM and could not be revived despite best efforts. The infant had suffered severe brain injury, and as the prognosis was poor, the parents were advised not to shift the child to National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS),” it said.

“We brought the child to NIMHANS because we were instructed to do so. Once the child was brought here, the doctors should have taken him in and treated him. But the doctors only came till the ambulance, saw the child and left. They did not even talk to us, they spoke amongst themselves in English and Hindi and went inside while the patient was lying in the ambulance,” the ambulance driver said.

Dr Shashidhar H N, Resident Medical Officer at NIMHANS while speaking to DH acknowledged that there was a delay of 10 minutes before running the tests. “The delay was because we were trying to make the parents understand that we cannot do anything as the baby was very critical,” he told DH.

Reacting to the incident, Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao said the arrangements were "not proper" at the NIMHANS. "It is too crowded. The authorities are ensuring quality treatment despite the pressure. We have to bring down their pressure. I will gather more information about the death of the kid," he said.

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