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Cough syrup deaths: It was my prescription, daughter had it while I was out getting water, says a parent

🔴 It was on October 10, her birthday, that the incident took place. The family had ordered a cake, bought a princess frock and hair band, and decorated the house. She died three days later.

Written by Gayathri Mani | New Delhi |
Updated: December 22, 2021 8:38:32 am
Cough syrup deaths: It was my prescription, daughter had it while I was out getting water, says a parentAnanya’s mother, Laxmi, at her residence. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

Three-year-old Ananya, one of the three children who died after consuming cough syrup, had taken medicine prescribed to her mother by mistake, her family told The Indian Express on Tuesday.

It was on October 10, her birthday, that the incident took place. The family had ordered a cake, bought a princess frock and hair band, and decorated the house. She died three days later.

The family stays in West Delhi’s Jawahar Camp and her mother, Laxmi, was out fetching water from the neighbourhood tank at the time.

“I usually don’t leave my daughter alone but the pump was not working and the water we had was dirty. It was her birthday and some people were invited. I went to bring three buckets of water. She drank the cough syrup while I was gone. She was playing when I returned, but 30 minutes later, she fell asleep and did not wake up. Initially, we all thought she was tired,” said Laxmi (32). “I had a cough and the mohalla clinic had prescribed the syrup 4-5 days earlier.”

When Ananya did not wake up, the family took her to the nearby clinic, from where doctor referred her to Kalawati Saran Children Hospital.

“Later, we noticed the cough syrup bottle was empty,” said Laxmi. “The doctors asked us if she ate or drank something and we showed them the bottle.”
Her older daughter is differently-abled, and the family moved to Kirti Nagar 10 months ago to get her treated. She has a four-year-old son as well.

Her husband Shiv Kumar, 35, works as a daily wage labourer in a tobacco factory and earns 6,000-7,000 per month.

The family said they do not have a single photo of Ananya.

“We do not have money to celebrate a lavish birthday but I bought a new dress and ordered cake. I wanted to dress her up as a doll. We don’t even have a photo to remember her,” said Laxmi.

The family said all they want now is for adequate treatment for their elder daughter.

“I lost one daughter; I don’t want to lose another. She cannot walk but if she gets treatment, perhaps there is a possibility she will. I request the government to help us,” she said.

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