Hyderabad 7-year-old, struck by rare disease and fed infected IV, dies

08 February, 2017

Hyderabad: A girl patient, who had been administered IV fluid which allegedly had fungus and an insect in the saline bottle on December 14, died on Tuesday at Gandhi hospital.

Sai Pravalika, 7, of Jangaon district had been battling for her life at the hospital. She succumbed to a rare disorder named ‘Neuronal ceroide lypo fuschinosis’.

Pravalika’s father, Sai Bikshapathi, is accusing the the hospital of “medical negligence”. While speaking to this newspaper, he did agree that his daughter had been suffering from health issues earlier. However, he maintained that Gandhi authorities had not shifted her to a multi-specialty hospital — despite promises from the superintendent. He also alleged that the police had not registered a case in the matter. He claimed that cops had instead threatened him —  ordering him to take his daughter’s body and leave immediately. “The condition of my daughter deteriorated after the saline was administered to her on December 14 last year. Her body turned reddish and she continued to become weak from then on,” Mr Bikshapathi said. He alleged that Gandhi hospital didn’t move Pravalika to a private hospital because of ‘loopholes’. “If they had shifted her, then it would have exposed the appalling futility of the system and the mistakes made by the hospital authorities.”

Mujtaba Hussain, from the Helping Hand foundation, (the NGO which was assisting the family) said: “The disease which Pravalika had was very rare, but she had a chance. We were also planning to give her an electronic monitor, a water bed (to avoid bed sores) and an oxygen cylinder after she came  home.”

A city-based pediatrician on condition of anonymity said that it was not possible for an insect to get into a saline bottle. “Even if it did get in, the person can’t die because of it. There should be a thorough investigation in this case.”

Death was natural: Gandhi doctors
While addressing a press  conference to explain Pravalika’s death, superintendent of Gandhi hospital Dr. J. Venkateshwar Reddy said her rare disease was to blame.

“The disease which struck her was very rare — it occurs in one person per one lakh. In my entire career of 30 years, I haven’t seen such a case. She was going through a degenerative brain disease, it is a genetic disorder and the child is born with the inability of nerve function. Over a period of time it will spread in the entire body and it doesn’t have a specific treatment method. The child may also slowly develop some complications which may prove fatal.”

He added, “We formed a probe panel immediately after the insect was spotted in the saline bottle. The committee comprised three doctors from different departments and it was headed by Dr. J. Venkateshwar Rao, the HOD of Pediatrics department, Dr. Raja Rao, HOD of Medicines and Dr. Nagamani HOD of the microbiologist department.”

Dr. J. Venkateshwar Rao, the committee head said, “The degenerative nervous system disorder was the main problem with Pravalika. It’s a rare disease among people and the life span of these children will not be more than 6-8 years.

“However she was not well from the past three years and was suffering from different kinds of problems such as vision loss, loss of memory, repeated lung infection, and she has also been bed-ridden for the past three years.”

The child was initially admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), and from January 31, her condition was deteriorating so the next day she was shifted to Respiratory ICU (RICU) and later the child developed acute renal failure and on January 3, she was given dialysis support and was also given ventilator support. “However she passed away at 3:30 am on Monday night. Moreover there is no evidence to show that child passed away because of fungus in saline bottle,” noted Mr. Rao.

Meanwhile, TS Medical & Health Minister C. Laxma Reddy too said  that Pravalika’s death was natural, due to the disease.