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For Lack of Compassion
Young life wasted in Army hospital
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
A six-year-old boy admitted to the Army Hospital, Research and Referral (RR), New Delhi, for the past seven months, has become a quadriplegic, thereby losing the faculty of all five senses, perhaps permanently. The Army, over the past few years, had turned down repeated requests from the boy’s father for a compassionate posting to any place where specialist treatment was available.

Acting upon a petition filed by the boy’s mother, the Delhi High Court on Friday directed that the boy, Adarsh Dikshit be transferred to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi and that the institute authorities ensure that all possible treatment was provided to him.

Counsel for the petitioner, Maj K Ramesh (retd) told The Tribune that the child had been admitted to RR Hospital in a partially unconscious state on September 4, 2006. On September 15, the child, son of a JCO serving with the Army Medical Corps, lost consciousness and became blind in both eyes.

The ophthalmologist had opined that the cornea and retina of the child was perfect but a blockage in the optical nerves due to brain compression had resulted in blindness, which was seemingly permanent but the eyesight could be restored. He cannot speak, hear, smell or even eat, and has to be fed nasally through a pipe.

According to the petition, the child suffered a seizure on April 10, 2006, while his family was in Kolkata. The paediatrician advised a CT-scan, an MRI scan and numerous tests, but his condition deteriorated.

Knowing full well that for “neurogestercostis” the services of a neurophysician were required, yet the paediatrician continued handling the case. On August 24, 2006, when the child’s condition became worse, the medical authorities cleared the decks for an emergency transfer to the RR Hospital, the petition added.

From November 26, 2006, the child remained on the RR hospital’s “dangerously ill list”, which, Major Ramesh claimed, was highly irregular. The neurosurgeon’s opinion was that the child’s brain stem was malfunctioning and at this stage it would be difficult to quantify the damage to the brain.

Adarsh’s problem was first detected in April 2003 and diagnosed as nephrotic syndrome—CUVJ obstruction. His father, Nb Sub D.K Dikshit, applied for compassionate posting to any military hospital where specialists like nephrologists and urologists were available, but it was turned down. A subsequent application in October was also rejected and in May 2004 he was posted to Ladakh.

In August 2004, the child became serious and an application for compassionate posting was again rejected. Seeing the helplessness of her husband in Ladakh, the child’s mother took him for prolonged treatment in AIIMS and by August 2005 the child had recovered. Things, however, took a turn for the worse the next year.

Major Ramesh said the court had also ruled that if the boy’s father sought a suitable posting, the authorities concerned were expected to examine the request sympathetically and pass appropriate orders.

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