New Delhi: Prominent schools in the capital on Thursday said they were well equipped for any medical emergency among students and that 17-year-old Delhi girl Akkriti Bhatia's death after an asthma attack during school hours was "unfortunate" and "shocking".
"We regularly monitor our students' health and if anyone feels unwell, then he or she is not allowed to attend classes until the school doctor gives them permission," principal of Delhi Public School, RK Puram told IANS.
She was reacting to Monday's incident when Akkriti, a Class 12 student of the prestigious Modern School Vasant Vihar, succumbed to an asthma attack allegedly after the school authorities failed to take timely action.
UNDER DOUBT: Akkriti's parents say their daughter died because of school's medical negligence.
Chona said at her school they have a male and a female doctor, besides nurses, round the clock in the school.
"Our doctors and nurses are on the school rolls. Therefore, they are available round the clock for any emergency. There is a centrally located clinic, right next to my office, and it is equipped with oxygen cylinder, nebuliser and all other medications. We also have our own ambulance."
Besides the equipment, Chona said they have medical records - including socio-psychological records - of all their students in which parents are asked to fill details of any specific ailment that their child may suffer from.
Referring to Akkriti's death, chariman of the Federation of Public Schools, RP Mallick said: "It is a shocking incident and I think the school delayed medical help to the girl."
The federation, which has over 300 public schools under it in Delhi, has called for a meeting on May 2 to discuss steps to provide better facilities in case of a medical emergency.
"All our schools are well equipped to handle medical emergencies. We have a separate medical room and medical staff to take care of such emergency. Now we have part time doctors available in our schools but soon we will make the appointment full time.
"Students in our schools undergo regular medical checks once a year and we keep a record of students having any disease," Mallick added.
Other institutions said they had ensured that incidents like Akkriti's do not take place in their school.
Principal of Tagore International school, Madhulika Sen, said they have a two-bed clinic with trained nurses and a doctor on call.
"We have all the equipment - oxygen cylinder, nebuliser, wheelchair - and a facility to transfer a child to the nearest hospital, which is just two minutes away," Sen told IANS.
"We also send circulars to parents at the beginning of every academic year, asking for any important information, or emergency medication, that we may need to know about their child's health
Defending the Modern School authorities, however, Sen said: "The school did what it could. They gave her the oxygen supply and she even felt better. Akkriti died on her way to hospital. It is a very unfortunate incident but no parent or school wants to play with a child's life."
Former principal of Sanskriti school, Gouri Iswaram, said it has an eight-bed infirmary with a full time doctor, a paediatrician and two nurses.
"The school also has a tie-up with the Primus Hospital just two minutes away from the school so that any kind of emergency can be taken care of," Iswaram added.