After an acid attack, the victim is normally assured of all help from the government. In case of 16-year-old Prabhjot Kaur too, a victim from a village in Batala, Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal had assured the same.
“Hospital stay and treatment was free,” said Gurjeet Kaur, her mother. “But now we are spending Rs 2000 a day on medication alone.” The girl was part of a group of six girls who were attacked on March 16 by men who allegedly stalked them. Gurjeet’s daughter reportedly had earlier stood up to one of the men. Brave, some called it. And yet, the family is still paying a heavy price.
Prabhjot’s condition was serious. She had to be taken to Fortis Hospital in Ludhiana, almost 150kms from her home town. Here, the revelations are even more startling.
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“The Fortis Foundation is supporting the victim. I am not aware of any government support,” said Dr Ankush Mehta, medical superintendent, Fortis Hospital.
“We had met some SAD leaders and had asked for help in daily expenses. That has not materialised so far,” said Prem Singh, brother of the victim.
“The Foundation is helping her at the moment,” said Dr Mehta. “The follow-up dressings are also being done free of cost. In case the family is facing problem in buying medicines, we will try to help them out.”
The Punjab government had not spent a penny on Prabhjot’s hospital stay till April 4, the day she was discharged. She still has to visit the doctor every third day and stays with her relatives for the time being. “We are upset,” said Gurjeet. “It is ridiculous that we have to submit a memorandum to the deputy CM for this.”
Doctors at the hospital told The Sunday Express that the victim would have to be regular at the hospital for at least a month.
“Wounds will heal properly only after then. After that, we will decide as whether any re-constructive surgery is needed or not,” said Dr Nithin Sethi, plastic surgeon, Fortis Hospital.
Prabhjot has different concerns though. “All the other girls have started going back to school and I am yet to take admission.,” she said. “I have asked my brothers to send me books of class 9 as I will have to stay in Ludhiana for over a month for follow-ups. I will start reading chapters of Hindi, English, Social Sciences and even Science. So that I don’t go blank once I join classes once again.”
Through the pain Prabhjot said, “I have secured more than 80 per cent marks. I don’t have the report card to show it though. I am praying for an early recovery so I can return to school.”
‘Bills will be paid’
Health Minister Surjeet Kumar Jayani said, “The treatment of all victims is free. Hospital stay of victim in Ludhiana will be reimbursed. The girl’s family can send me an application in case they are facing any monetary problem in OPD expenditure. “
Deputy Commissioner (Ludhiana) said, “The Punjab government will reimburse the whole expenditure to Fortis hospital and this communication has already been sent to them .”