Patna teen who fought to get TB care in Mumbai, dies

A 19-year-old girl from Patna who was diagnosed with a severe form of tuberculosis died at Hinduja Hospital in Mahim last month, the doctor who was treating her confirmed on Wednesday.

The girl’s father was forced to approach the court in January 2017, as his daughter was refused Bedaquline, a new drug, at the Lala Ram Saroop TB Hospital in Delhi on the grounds that she was not a resident of Delhi. The Delhi HC, said the girl will be administered Bedaquiline at Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital, under the supervision of chest physician Dr Zarir Udwadia. She was under the care of Dr Udwadia since January 2017.

Udwadia, while making a presentation on the occasion of an exhibition on “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World,” at the Nehru Science Centre confirmed the news of her death.

“The extreme delay in treatment caused severe damage to her lungs, resulting in her death,” said Dr Udwadia. She was declared dead on arrival at the Hinduja Hospital last month. When asked about further details, he refused to share more information. The girl was brought to Mumbai in a state of being unable to breath and with an oxygen cylinder owing to scarring in her lungs.

Advocate Anand Grover from Lawyers’ Collective, the group which fought the girl’s case, said, “It’s unacceptable the girl was refused the drug only because she wasn’t a resident of Delhi. The upscaling of the drug is happening now, why couldn’t it be done earlier. Udwadia said the delay in treatment had caused scarring of her lungs,” said Grover.

The court had quashed the domicile criteria for access to the drug while hearing the case, resulting in extending the access of the drug. With rising number of Extensively Drug Resistant (XDR) TB cases, access to Bedaquiline has also improved with a total of 250-300 patients in Mumbai and Thane currently on the drug.

The sale of the drug was restricted in India, with the government issuing the drug only at six centres — two centres in Delhi, one each in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Guwahati on a trial basis since March 2016. The drug is administered to patients who have acquired severe resistance or the infection has spread such that the lung tissues are damaged.

First Published: Dec 06, 2018 09:58 IST

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