Brahmapur, Dec 2:
In what appears to be a case of food poisoning, four members of a family – a father and three of his adult sons -died here on Monday while his daugher is battling for life at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the MKCG Medical College and Hospital here.
“All of them had eaten chakuli (an Odia delicacy made of rice and gram) and roasted green banana on Saturday night. The next morning, my second son Pramod (30) complained of stomach ache and started vomiting. We rushed him to the hospital. Soon my youngest son Pankaj also developed similar symptoms and had to be admitted to the hospital. By midnight yesterday, my husband Bhuban (65), second son Prasanna (24) and daughter Banita (21) joined them at the hospital. Three of my sons died. They were not even married,” said Sarojini Padhi, the mother of the victims, amid sobs.
Her eldest son Prashant and she herself survived because they had not eaten the killer stuff, she said.
“I observe fast on Saturdays while my mother wasn’t particularly hungry that night. So both of us did not eat,” said Prashant, who runs a fast food centre near Utkal Talkies.
He, however, alleged negligence in treatment at the hospital.
President of the Brahmampur Town unit of BJP Ram Kumar Patra also accused hospital authorities of negligence.
“No professor or assistant professor of medicine department attended to the patients. Though the situation was serious, the superintendent of MKCG hospital did not form a special team of doctors to attend to them,” he said.
Pramod died at 4.15 am while Pankaj passed away at 6.50 am. Prasanna, who was referred to a Visakhapatnam hospital due to absence of ventilators and ICU beds at MKCG, died on the way, sources at the MKCG Hospital said.
Earlier, Prof Diptimoyee Tripathy, Head of Medicine department at MKCG, said she suspected food poisoning to be the cause of the deaths.
“We are investigating the reason for poisoning. The condition of Bhuban Padhi is serious as his blood sugar level has dipped alarmingly,” she said.
Inspector in-charge of Bada Bazar police station, Anil Kumar Mohanty said Padhi’s house has been sealed.
“We have collected food samples from the house and are in the process of sending it for lab testing,” he said.
Sub collector Bijaya Kumar Das said the district administration would bear all the medical expenses of the family.
Their neighbours said there was no dispute among the family members.
“Their two elder daughters are married. While Rita got married nine years ago, Anita’s wedding took place in February this year,” one of them said.
The Padhi family, comprising nine members, lives in Pandara Sahi in Old Brahmapur and runs a business of fast food, juice and fan coil winding.