Comatose Chitradurga girl has rabies, say Nimhans doctors

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Bangalore: Chethana Mahantesh, a BA graduate, was admitted to a local nursing home in Chitradurga on July 9 after she complained of mild fever and insomnia. The 21-year-old slipped into a coma after doctors in her hometown allegedly administered an overdose of drugs. She was shifted to Basaveshwara Medical College Hospital in Chitradurga and then to Kasturba Medical College in Manipal. When her condition continued to deteriorate, she was admitted to Nimhans in the city on Sunday.

Doctors at Nimhans, where she is being kept under constant observation, have diagnosed Chethana with acute case of rabies and reveal that the girl remains critical. Her parents refuse to buy that diagnosis and blame her condition on the overdose of drugs.

“In case of rabies, the patient is prone to brain infection, the symptoms of which do not show immediately after the dog bite,” Dr V L Satheesh, Medical Superintendent, Nimhans said. “The doctor would have administered sedatives to bring the symptoms under control. The patient subsequently went into a coma. Her condition is critical and we have already informed her family members about it.” On Friday, Chethana’s mother Naveena sat in the ICU Block at Nimhans, praying that her daughter would regain consciousness. Trying hard to hold back tears, Naveena said, “A dog bit her in the backyard of the house in the month of May. We rushed her to the hospital and gave her the vaccination that is given to prevent rabies. The dog that bit her has attacked four other people. I don’t understand why only my daughter has fallen into this death trap.”

Villagers killed the dog soon after the incident. Naveena revealed Chethana had planned to do her MA and was preparing for the entrance exam when she took ill.

“After the vaccine she seemed fine, but she then developed fever and weakness and complained that she couldn’t sleep in the night,” Naveena said. “I took her back to the nursing home and she was given sedatives. After that she hasn’t opened her eyes.”

Mahantesh, Chethana’s father, said all he wanted was to have his daughter hale and hearty again. “I do not know what went wrong,” Mahantesh said. “I no longer have the strength to fight. Her friends from Chitradurga have not stopped calling us and enquiring about her condition. Right now, nobody is able to offer any clarity on why she is in this state today.”

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