City hospital accused of practicing mercy killing

Oct 03, 2011, 11:07 IST | Sheetal Sukhija

Family of 26-year-old patient allege that doctors administered heavy doses of medicine to their daughter, which was meant for another patient whose mercy killing plea was recently rejected

The health of a 26-year-old woman, suffering from an upset stomach, took a turn for the worse after the on duty doctor at a city-based private hospital allegedly administered a heavy dose of medicine meant for another patient whose mercy killing plea was rejected recently.

inflated bills? St Philomena's Hospital initially presented Vimala's family
with a bill
for Rs 1.85 lakh. However, when they accused the hospital of
fleecing them, the authorities settled for an amicable
Rs 40,000.
Pic/Ramesh H S

According to legal experts, the allegation, if proven, would amount to serious negligence and even murder (for breaking the law of the land) on the part of the doctor and the facility in question: St Philomena's Hospital.

After being administered the mysterious medicine, Vimala's condition deteriorated and she was shifted to the ICU. The sudden change in her condition forced the family question the authenticity the medication provided.

"We first found out that the doctor on duty was administering some other patient's dosages to my sister. That patient had passed away just the previous day and when we got to know about
this, we were very scared.

She merely had a stomach upset and nausea and all of a sudden we were told that she would have to be shifted to the ICU," Parimala, Vimala's sister said.

Baffled family members looked into the medication further to realise that expired medicines were being used.

"So much so that the Novasource powder that was given to her each night had bugs in it," Parimala said.

Controversial bill
After two weeks of treatment, Vimala was finally dicharged yesterday. The hospital prepared a bill of Rs 1.85 lakh, and when the family refused to pay, the amount mutually agreed upon dropped to Rs 40,000.

However, according to Vimala's family members, she has been discharged, but the side effects of the alleged wrong medication continue to affect her health and she is very weak.

Other side 
>> However, the hospital authorities have rejected all these claims. "The patient was suffering from serious stomach upset and was throwing up intermittently. She had to be admitted to the ICU as was dehydrated and become critical overnight. The patient's family kept forcing us to change the doctor as they claimed the one attending to the patient had been negligent. As far as the allegation of mercy killing is concerned, this is a baseless and damaging accusation made against us," said Jiss Joseph, Public Relations Manager, St Philomena's Hospital. 

>> Regarding use of expired medicines, Joseph said, "They claimed that the protein powder that the doctors had administered had expired. But the truth is that across the country doctors administer this powder even though it has expired. It makes no difference and causes no side effects."

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