4-month old baby dies in South Sumatra from respiratory infection, haze likely the cause
She died one day after being infected.
A four-month old baby has died from acute respiratory infection in the Indonesian city of Palembang, South Sumatra, and the haze is suspected to be the cause, CNN Indonesia reported.
Elsa Pitaloka began experiencing breathing difficulties on Saturday, September 14, in her village of Talang Buluh, in Banyuasin Regency, which has been hit by the haze.
She subsequently passed away one day later, on September 15, at the Ar-Rasyid Palembang Hospital, at about 6:35pm.
Initial hospital could not treat baby because it had no proper facilities
CNN Indonesia further reported that Ar-Rasyid Palembang Hospital was not the initial hospital Elsa was taken to.
Rather, her parents, Ngadirun, 34, and Ita Septiana, 27, had taken her to Pratama Sukajadi Hospital at first, while accompanied by a village official, Agus Darwanto.
However, they were told by the staff that the hospital could not treat Elsa as it did not have the proper facilities to do so.
The family were then referred to Ar-Rasyid Palembang Hospital, about seven kilometres away.
Elsa was subsequently admitted into the second hospital’s emergency room at 11:30am on September 15, where she was diagnosed with a respiratory infection.
Second hospital did not have equipment for treatment
Subsequently, the doctor who diagnosed Elsa recommended that she be transferred to another hospital in the city, Dr. Mohammad Hoesin Hospital (RSMH), five kilometres away, as Ar-Rasyid Palembang Hospital did not have the equipment for her treatment either.
Agus stated that upon being contacted by the family, the third hospital told the family that they would have to wait, as the operating theatres were all full.
Passed away in the evening
As such, the family waited until the evening, when they finally told that their referral to RSMH was successful.
However, it was around this point that Elsa succumbed to her illness at 6:35pm.
Baby was born healthy, respiratory problems likely because of haze
Agus highlighted that Elsa had been born a healthy baby, with no disorders, and that her breathing problem had suddenly appeared.
M. Hakim, the head of the Banyuasin Regency Health Agency, stated that it was likely Elsa had contracted pneumonia as a result of inhaling smoke particles from the haze.
He further urged residents to wear masks so as to protect themselves from the smog.
Haze has caused multiple deaths across Indonesia
Should Elsa’s death be conclusively linked directly to the haze, it would not be the first to have occurred.
Thus far, the fires have claimed at least nine lives — the lives of two child siblings, aged seven and 11, in West Kalimantan province, a fire fighter in Jambi province and at least six farmers across Riau, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan.
Around 285,000 hectares of land has also been burnt since the dry season started in June.
Top photo by Muhammad A.F/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images