Kasargod: The 45-year-old saviour of a one-and-a-half-year-old child that suffered a snake-bite and was later found to have COVID, has himself tested negative for the disease.
Jinil Mathew, 45, the secretary of CPM’s Vattakkayam branch in Kasargod and convener of the Head Load and General Workers Union’s Panathur Unit, has been at a quarantine centre since July 23 when the child tested positive for COVID.
He had made headlines with his timely intervention that saved the child after it was bitten by a viper on the night of July 21 while being in quarantine at home with her parents ever since the family returned to Vattakkayam from Bihar on July 16. He had rushed the baby just in time to the Pariyaram Medical College and saved its life.
Many people, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, had praised Jinil of Keechira house for his act.
The COVID test report came as negative on July 28. He has been told there will be no more tests. Jinil told Manorama Online that he will be able to return to his home next Tuesday.
The first test results of the child's parents were also negative. They will be tested again on July 31 (Friday). If those results also come out as negative, they will be able to go home.
The child is also recovering at the hospital.
The baby was bitten by the viper around 8:30pm on July 21 when it was standing near a window. Her parents cried for help, but since they were in quarantine, no one from the neighbourhood dared to enter the house.
Jinil, who lives next door, however, did not think twice. He went into the home, killed the snake that was still lying at the window, and took the baby first to the Kanhangad district hospital, about 44 km from Vattakkayam to, and then to Pariyaram Medical College with the help of a friend Binu, an ambulance driver.
The doctor at the Kanhangad district hospital saw the dead snake that Jinil had put in a plastic cover and carried with him and said the baby had to be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) since the reptile belonged to a very poisonous species.
However, as the hospital did not have a coronavirus ICU, he advised that the child be taken to Pariyaram Medical College. The baby was given the antidote at the medical college and it recovered. The doctors there had said that a delay of a few more minutes could have cost the infant her life.
While the baby was recuperating at the hospital, no one was ready to take her parents to the medical college. Two youths — Visakh and Alan Rixon — came forward and took them in a car. The two have also tested negative.
Jinil said he was tense till doctors assured him that the baby was safe. “On that night, doctors told me that a delay of another 10–15 minutes could have endangered the baby’s life. The worry of contracting COVID was insignificant compared to the tension I experienced that night,” he said.