A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking directions to urgently constitute a team of medical experts for the treatment of children suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar.
The petition, filed by two advocates, has sought direction to the Centre and Bihar government to immediately arrange 500 bedded ICU (intensive care unit) with required medical professionals to deal with the emergent situation, which has occurred due to the outbreak of AES.
Advocates -- Manohar Pratap and Sanpreet Singh Ajmani -- have also sought a direction to Bihar government to notify an "extraordinary government order" directing all the private medical institutions in the affected area to admit and provide treatment free of cost to the patients.
The petition said that disease is completely curable and lives of young children are being lost due to the inaction of the state machinery, which has failed to take any steps to prevent the outbreak.
Despite the death of more than 100 children, the state government has shown no prompt steps to prevent the spread of the said disease in adjoining districts, lawyers contended in the plea.
"There is a complete failure of the State machinery to deal with the wide outbreak of Japanese encephalitis (JE), AES or Chamki Bukhar. There is no availability of doctors, beds, intensive care units, medical professionals to deal with an epidemic level situation which has resulted in more than 126 reported death of children in the state of Bihar particularly in Muzaffarpur and its adjoining areas," the plea stated.
The petitioners also sought direction for the Centre and Bihar to constitute a fact-finding committee to determine the role of persons or entity negligent in the treatment of children, which has resulted in mass deaths.
The petition further asked Bihar government to grant compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the surviving members of the family of the deceased who have died due to the negligence of the state machinery.
Encephalitis is a viral disease that causes mild flu-like symptoms such as high fever, convulsions, and headache.
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