THE fear of losing her mother to dengue infection drove a 23-year-old Colaba-resident towards suicide — with the woman popping in 15 paracetamol tablets and drinking phenyl — after her mother’s health did not improve even after 10 days of treatment.
What followed were frantic attempts by doctors to save her life even as her mother, aged 50, claimed she underwent no test to confirm the dengue infection.
The woman is now recuperating at the state-run Gokuldas Tejpal (GT) hospital’s intensive care unit and is out of danger, confirmed doctors. Her mother, who is suspected to have dengue and is receiving symptomatic treatment, was admitted in the same hospital’s general ward (number 13) on Tuesday morning. Doctors are now awaiting blood test reports to confirm dengue.
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The city is reeling under a spurt of the vector-borne dengue infection with five deaths reported so far this year. According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), in September alone, 248 confirmed dengue cases had been attended to in public hospitals while 3,979 suspected patients have recorded dengue-like symptoms. Experts admit that due to erratic weather pattern, patients are relating even slight fever with dengue infection.
According to Dr D R Kulkarni, medical superintendent at GT Hospital, the 23-year-old was rushed to the hospital at 4 am on Sunday after she attempted suicide late Saturday night. According to a psychiatrist who counseled her, she took an impulsive decision out of fright. “In her statement, she told us she was scared she would lose her mother and decided to end her life,” the psychiatrist said.
Doctors are now waiting for her medical parameters to stabilise before counseling her. “We have put her on anti-depressant drug Fluoxetine to make her calm and reduce anxiety. As soon as she is transferred to a general ward, we will initiate the process of counseling,” the psychiatrist added.
The woman also has three elder siblings and her father, all residents of Colaba. “They are all financially sound. The girl never showed symptoms of depression before. This was the first time she behaved in such a drastic manner,” the doctor, privy to the medical history of the patient, said. Dr Madhukar Gaikwad, head of medicine unit at GT Hospital, said, “We conducted gastric lavage to flush out toxins from her stomach as soon as she was brought. She was also put on IV fluids. Just to ensure she had not consumed any sedative overdose, a blood sample was sent to P D Hinduja laboratory.” The woman’s blood tested negative for any other drug overdose. Another test was done on Sunday to rule out opium poisoning.
Dr Sagar Mundada, psychiatrist with state-run hospitals, said that 60 per cent Indian population does not seek help for mental health which has now become a “hidden emergency”.