Khammam, Andhra Pradesh, May 31: A 16-year-old boy Challa Babu cried and wreathed in agony due to severe symptoms of hydrophobia on the floor of a hospital in Khammam in the presence of a state minister and died after three hours, only because none of the government hospitals in the town had anti-rabies vaccine.
India TV telecast the story of Challa Babu writhing on the floor for nearly three hours, and the state minister for horticulture Rami Reddy Venkat Reddy giving money to the dead boy's mother as consolation.
As TV cameras zoomed in on Babu, the boy writhed in agony and breathed his last on Sunday in a private hospital, with his parents standing dazed and helpless. The parents, Narasimha and Savithramma, didn't have Rs 400 to purchase an anti-rabies vaccine, locals said.
Babu and his parents were bitten by a stray dog on May 1, and his parents went from hospital to hospital pleading for an anti-rabies vaccine for nearly 30 days. By that time, Babu was beyond treatment. His parents had recovered by this time.
The victims first approached the government hospital in Khamma, but the resident doctor there gave the boy an antibiotic injection, but did not give him anti-rabies vaccine, which was 'out of stock'. The boy was then referred to a primary health centre in Manchukonda, where, too, there were no stocks of anti-rabies vaccines.
On Saturday, Babu was admitted to a private hospital, but by that time, his situation was beyond repair. He succumbed to hydrophobia on Sunday.
As has become routine, Khammam district collector Siddharth Jain has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident. The collector claimed there were "enough stocks" of anti-rabies vaccines in government hospitals.
"There were several cases of dog bites during that period", claimed Jain, "and all victims were given anti-rabies vaccines. We will not spare the doctors who refused to give Babu the vaccine".