This is a story about a 50 yrs old paralyzed woman, Viviyana Chauranth from Chipadoha in Latehar district of Jharkhand state. The backdrop to her condition is a venomous snakebite that was inflicted by a Russell’s viper.
Incident: On 8th June, 2013, Pradeep Kerkatta, a 40-year-old farmer was returning home with his wife. It was around 8:30pm. The couple was walking back home with the bicycle in tow. There were no street lights but as they were locals they knew the way home even in the dark.
The couple didn’t see an adult Russell’s viper crossing the road. The snake got entangled in the bicycle’s front wheel and started thrashing. Pradeep reacted wondering what had happened. Within a few seconds, he was bitten 3 times near the ankle area. The couple panicked and hastened home.
That night, the family consulted a local herbal medicines healer. The healer, Pauru Nageshiya gave him a concoction to drink. The patient was vomiting and the herbal concoction was also thrown up. Next day, the family and a few neighbors took Pradeep to Chandandi Carmel Hospital. This place is a 3-hour drive from where Pradeep Kerkatta lived.
Pradeep was given treatment for 7 days in Chandandi Carmel Hospital. We do not know if the patient was administered Antivenom and what was the further course of his treatment at Carmel Hospital in Chandandi. During this time Pradeep’s doting wife never left his side. Pradeep’s condition deteriorated during the week and he died on 15th June 2013. He is survived by his wife and seven children.
After Pradeep’s death, his wife started drinking to forget her pain. Her addiction to country liquor took a toll on her health. She was left paralyzed and bedridden about two years ago. The family has gone through countless hardships and struggle to keep afloat. Snakebite is not just a medical condition- it has a socio-economic effect on the victim’s family. Pradeep’s unfortunate and untimely death has left his family struggling for even basic sustenance. Some of his children are school dropouts and daily wage workers to support their large family.
Written by Priyanka Kadam.