New Delhi: The intermittent sobs are hard to miss. As relatives and friends gather to pay their condolences to Ram Kishore, whose teenaged son, Rishabh, died of dengue on Thursday, there is anger and helplessness.
In one week, the security guard's family took a loan and spent close to Rs 3 lakh for 17-year-old Rishabh's treatment in different private hospitals.
Rishabh had complained of fever just last Saturday. Within three days, he was diagnosed with severe symptoms of dengue, with a platelet count of 26,000, as against the normal range of 1.4 - 4.5 lakh.
Dr AK Gupta of east Delhi's Gupta Multi-speciality Hospital told NDTV, "In normal cases, after day 3 and 4, grade of fever drops, and then platelets fall. In his case, he had high fever and platelets were very low. He came in a serious condition with a low platelet count."
On September 16, when Rishabh's platelet count dropped to 18,000, he was given platelet transfusion and shifted to Max Hospital in Patparganj. By this time, his platelet count had fallen to 9,000 according to preliminary reports. Since there were no beds available, he was moved across to the Vaishali branch the same evening.
The teenager, who dreamed of becoming a Customs officer, died the next evening.
Angry relatives allege they were asked to pay huge sums of money in all the three hospitals. His uncle Sulender Pal said, "They even said pay up of we won't release the body."
Dr Gupta claims that the family has still not cleared their bill, given the condition of the boy, the hospital administration did not insist on it either.
Max Hospital in a statement said, "On request of the family, a significant amount was waived off in view of the economic condition... on compassionate ground."
20 people have died this season, with four deaths reported in the national capital just today. The government insists there is no need to panic, but the message seems lost with every death reported.