7-year-old dies of dengue, his parents kill themselves

The boy was being treated for the last “three-four days” by a doctor at a nursing home nearby.

Written by Pritha Chatterjee , Abhishek Angad | New Delhi | Updated: September 15, 2015 3:43 pm
Left behind: photographs of the Rout family Left behind: photographs of the Rout family

“IT is nobody’s fault. It is our decision,” they wrote in Odia on the suicide note. Minutes later, the parents of seven-year-old Avinash Rout jumped to death from the terrace of a four-storey building in South Delhi where they were staying on rent, police said.

Just hours earlier, on the night of September 8, Laxmichandra and Babita had buried Avinash after he succumbed to dengue in a Delhi Hospital. The end came after a traumatic 24 hours when the parents failed to get a bed for their  son in two of Delhi’s top hospitals before rushing him to Batra Hospital, said police and the family’s neighbours.

By then, they added, it was too late for the family from Kendrapara in Odisha — after a night in hospital, doctors declared Avinash dead at around 1 pm. Police said the heartbroken parents performed the last rites of their son at Chhattarpur that night. Then, at around 2.30 am, neighbours found the bodies of Laxmichandra and Babita inside the compound of a government school nearby, their hands tied together.

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On Friday, The Indian Express reached the couple’s rented accommodation at Building No. M212 in Lado Sarai and found their neighbours still reeling from the events of those 24 hours.

Outside the two-room house in which the family stayed, a yellow cycle that belonged to Avinash — or Bittu as he was called at home — was propped up against the wall.

“Babita’s left hand and Laxmichandra’s right hand were tied together with a dupatta. Babita was wearing her nightdress, just as she was when we last saw her about an hour before,” said Kavita Sejwal, their landlord.

She added that Laxmichandra was an employee of a private firm that provided services to Pizza Hut outlets, Babita managed the home and Avinash was a Class 1 student at a local school.

Chandra Bhanu Mohanty, Laxmichandra’s colleague, said the couple had married after they fell in love while studying together in a college in Odisha. Laxmichandra was a science graduate who later did an MBA, and worked in accounting and auditing before joining his present job in the business support division,” Mohanty said.

Recalling the events that led to the double suicide, the family’s neighbour, Gyanendra Debashis, who is also from Odisha, said: ”Laxmichandra and Babita had rushed out with Bittu at around 6 pm on September 7 after his condition started worsening.”

The boy was being treated for the last “three-four days” by a doctor at a nursing home nearby, he added. “On September 7, Babita told my wife that the doctor had told her to get her son admitted. But she said he was running around and seemed fine, so she brought him home,” Debashis said.

By evening, however, Avinash started complaining of severe pain, said Dharmo Devi, Sejwal’s mother-in-law. “His body turned cold and he complained of pain. When they were taking him away, he told me ‘Dadi, my head will burst’,” Devi said.

Banalata Moharana, another neighbour, said the family was accompanied by some neighbours as they went from one hospital to another. “We went to Moolchand Medicity and Max Saket, the biggest hospitals in the area, but they said that all beds for dengue patients were full. Finally, we went to Batra Hospital in Tughlakabad Extension, almost 7-8 km away. Bittu was finally admitted about four-five hours after they left the house,” Moharana said.

When contacted, Batra Hospital & Medical Research Centre (BHMRC) said in a statement: “We confirm that the patient was in a critical condition due to dengue. The child was brought to us… at 11:05 pm in our casualty department in a very critical condition (on Monday) without pulse and blood pressure. Our physicians directly took the child to our paediatric ICU and gave all appropriate treatment available but despite our best efforts, he did not survive.”

The medical director of Moolchand Medicity said in a statement: “The patient was treated and stabilised in our emergency. Given non-availability of inpatient beds, the patient was advised to seek an alternative hospital and mbulance was arranged for safe transfer.”

Max Saket did not respond to a request for comment.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Prem Nath said the couple left behind a signed one-page suicide note and added that the bodies were sent for post-mortem.

Police received a call at around 3.50 am in the intervening night of September 8-9 that the couple was missing, a senior officer said. “After conducting a search, we found the two lying in a pool of blood inside the compound of a government school next to their house. An inquiry has been initiated and an FIR will be registered once the post-mortem report is received,” said a senior officer.

According to neighbours, Babita was so disturbed by her son’s death that she had threatened to jump from the hospital roof while Laxmichandra appeared calm. “As per our custom, we bury the young, and I remember Laxmichandra sat nearby while we dug the grave. He told us that we should whisper in Avinash’s ears that his mother would be waiting for him. It’s a custom and the belief is that the child will return to the same house when the parents conceive again,” Debashis, the neighbour, said.

Babita kept saying that she “could not sleep on a bed when her son was sleeping under the soil”, said Moharana, the neighbour, adding that she was with Babita till she went to bed.

”When her father, who was on a visit, tried to console her by saying that she could have another baby in a few years, she shouted at him, saying no child would be like Bittu,” Moharana added.

”At midnight, they asked us all to leave so they could rest,” said Kavita, the landlord.

”Her father told us later that at around 12-12.15 am, they stepped out saying they were going for a walk. At around 1 am, he said he woke up to realise they had still not returned,” she added.

Debashis said he realised something was wrong when he heard Babita’s father shouting. ”We first went up to the terrace. I rushed to the crematorium, thinking that Babita may have wanted to see her buried child. But we did not find them there,” he said.

Finally, the wife of another neighbour discovered the body inside the school compound. “She started screaming,” said Kavita.

Recounting his last conversation with Laxmichandra, his colleague Mohanty said, “He asked me to go to the cremation ground where his child was buried and light incense sticks. I said it was his responsibility, but he insisted that I do it.”

On Thursday, Babita’s father, her Gurgaon-based nephew and neighbours cremated the couple. Babita’s father left for Kendrapara soon after. “This morning, I went back, lifted the cycle and put it back in its position,” Debashis said.

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  1. P
    Pranjal Sharma
    Sep 12, 2015 at 9:29 am
    Tragic and sad. Few days back I had dengue and was admitted to Max saket emergency. There were no beds but fortunately I got a stretcher to spend my night. I wont blame the hospital. Situation then very bad and almost all the cases in emergency were of dengue.
    1. M
      Sep 12, 2015 at 4:22 pm
      Our PM should hurry up with weapons deals worth billions of dollars, while more than half of our nation live below poverty line & without basic necessities of life.
      1. D
        Dr Anita
        Sep 18, 2015 at 12:11 pm
        Prevention and early detection of the disease is very helpful which we must learn. All hospitals must try to accommodate the critically ill as once the ailing person came to them it is their ethical responsibility . As a lay person one may not realize the gravity of the problem, which the Doctor can judge. Doctor is in apposition to declare emergency against the routine procedures. Also, it is a must for all not to loose mental strength during the crisis.
        1. A
          Sep 12, 2015 at 8:00 am
          No words to say in the world for such a great parents.vote return with same family in future.
          1. A
            Sep 12, 2015 at 6:57 pm
            Too bad - Its a pity that a normal citizen in a place like Delhi does not get proper medical attention - forget about other and rural areas, Many are the reasons for such a condition of our country - Deserving people are not getting admission in Medical - Total seats if compared to Doctor requirements of the w country are too meager - Governments just want reservations but does NOTHING to increase the seats capacity. Private medical colleges requires a student to invest 2 to 5 crores in donation for admission - Who will serve society after paying such a sum ?? Priorities should be clear cut - good food - good health - shelter - drinking water - electricity 24*7 - until these are not available to the majority of citizens it cannot be called development.
            1. C
              Sep 12, 2015 at 8:42 pm
              For god sake do not give these type of news...i know it is a sad news but this tyoe of news can depress many and actas an example to repeat the same.
              1. D
                Sep 12, 2015 at 12:53 pm
                Dear Reporter, With due respect to what you have written in your article or "Story" as you put it and understanding that it is your profession to bring the facts out. Just wish to highlight something here. Is it also not our duty to spread positivity around. I am not saying that the facts should not be reported but all that is needed is more sensitivity towards the readers of the article and seeing what is getting conve....can we not spread a ray of hope, may be a few lines requesting the readers to wish and pray for the strength of the affected family,...or not to take the symptoms of dengue especially in children lightly. Hope the above feedback helps.
                1. D
                  Sep 12, 2015 at 3:14 pm
                  Ask corrupt congress who ruled and looted India for 60 years what they have done to eradicate such problems since 20 years.
                  1. N
                    Sep 15, 2015 at 5:38 pm
                    Tragic as the case is..bt v seem to hv missed d fact that avinash's parents who hd been advised to hospitalize him in d morning itself, brought him home instead..n took him to hosp only wen his condition hd deteriorated. No doubt India needs to drastically improve healthcare facilities bt citizens must realise tje importance g a doctor's advice.. probably d lil child n his parents cud hv been saved.
                    1. R
                      Sep 13, 2015 at 7:57 am
                      1. B
                        Sep 12, 2015 at 5:17 pm
                        No political party in India is sincere in doing justice with people. All hospitals are manned by doctors who are for money only. Human values are finished and replaced with dictatorial atude. What has more advanced is hatred only. Political parties are playing with fire. Supreme Court must ask the government what is fool proof methods ensuring fair and economical services in health sector. Government hospitals are careless and providing poor services. AIIMS propagate a good beginning but is publicity only as none of the coordinator is present but flood of people waiting his or her term. People comes referred from other places for good and sr. Doctors but get attention of junior and inexperienced one and these doctors ask the patient to come when they are at last stage of breath. Have seen patient coming since 7 years for stomach pain but getting relief by taking oral medicine only with no concrete solution. It shows that free health services are only eyewash with no concrete efforts.
                        1. J
                          Jyotika Kalra
                          Sep 18, 2015 at 8:34 pm
                          very touching story
                          1. L
                            Sep 12, 2015 at 8:50 am
                            Very very sad. I have no words to describe what i am feeling now.
                            1. H
                              Sep 12, 2015 at 11:37 am
                              RIP, We have lost all hopes in this dangerous democratic set up. TOP people fight for vote, money, looting and let looting, ill treatment, reservation, creating hatredness in society. Did suicide is the only answer?. If yes, we pray god if he is there to give strength to commit suicide. We wept and slept.
                              1. N
                                Sep 12, 2015 at 8:37 pm
                                India is a third grade country when it comes to medical services for the poor. This should be an eye opener for the local government officials and someone should be held accountable for this loss of a child.
                                1. X
                                  Sep 12, 2015 at 1:05 pm
                                  why is that after 70 years after independance and of Congi rule that India is so backward?? It is understanable that 200 years before that Brits could care, and 700 years before that Mullahs could care. Congi too is in the could not care basket
                                  1. S
                                    Sanjaya Uvacha
                                    Sep 15, 2015 at 6:51 pm
                                    Plenty of debates on the visual/print media in progress.....The Media GIANTs got a HOT news to debate for the time being - UNTILL they get another more interesting HOT news!
                                    1. S
                                      SHRIKANT PURANIK
                                      Sep 12, 2015 at 4:01 pm
                                      1. S
                                        Sep 13, 2015 at 8:12 am
                                        Don't be under a false impression Sir that only the poor are denied healthcare. This family was a typical Indian middle cl family, just like you and me..
                                        1. S
                                          Sep 13, 2015 at 8:14 am
                                          Exactly. Welcome to reality.
                                          1. K
                                            Kailash Vishnu
                                            Sep 12, 2015 at 5:29 am
                                            Tragic loss of lives. Joint family helps in preventing suicidal thoughts and extended family members, relatives and neighbors spending a few weeks with the family who lost loved one helps in neutralizing grief. This is a common custom in rural areas even today in most parts of India. City life for the poor is so isolating, not socially healthy .
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