Cops still haven't filed FIR for medical negligence

It’s been over two months since 33-year-old Sonal Gangar died during labour along with her unborn child in Ghatkopar’s Jeevan Jyoti hospital, but her relatives, who believe it was the result of medical negligence, have still not managed to file an FIR with the local police. 

Tragic end: Sonal Gangar died from haemorrhage shock, caused by lacerations in the muscular wall of her uterus. Her relatives claim that her death is the result of medical negligence

While the relatives of the deceased patient sent a legal notice to the hospital on August 16, the post mortem and histopathology reports have concluded that the patient Gangar died due to haemorrhage shock due to lacerations in the muscular wall of her uterus.

Sonal was admitted in the privately run hospital in the morning of July 8 for a full term normal delivery under Dr Ajay Shah, a gynaecologist. “She was undergoing routine check-ups in the hospital since the first month of her pregnancy and the doctor had suggested she go for a normal delivery,” said Dr Jayavanti Gangar, a relative.

“At around 12.30 pm, she started experiencing breathlessness and a few minutes after her husband alerted the nurse, Dr Shah rushed into the ward. On seeing her condition, he called the anaesthetic doctor and cardiologist. However, by the time they reached the hospital, she had died, at around 1.55 pm,” added Dr Gangar.

She further added that Dr Shah had to send a nurse to a nearby medical store to buy an injection, adrenaline and soda bi-carbonate, as it was not available in the hospital, which caused further delay in her treatment. “The doctor checked on her only once after she was admitted and Sonal and her unborn child lost their lives as timely treatment was not given,” she said.

The post mortem was conducted in Rajawadi hospital after which the deceased patient’s samples were sent to state-run JJ hospital for the histopathology report. The report (MiD DAY has a copy) said the patient had pneumonia with haemorrhage of the uterus wall.

On condition of anonymity, a doctor from Rajawadi hospital said, “It was observed that the patient’s umbilical cord was around the baby’s neck, which weighed three kg at the time. Also, though the placenta was intact with the uterus, there was bleeding due to lacerations on the internal walls of the uterus, which is unnatural.”

He further added that from these findings, it could be gauged that there was negligence on the hospital’s part as in such cases, caesarean surgeries are usually conducted.

Losing battle
Despite the post mortem and histopathology reports, an FIR is yet to be filed in Ghatkopar police station, much to the chagrin of the family. The deceased patient’s kin claim that Sonal’s reports were not handed over to them and when they asked for it, new medical records were presented.

“If the doctor had conducted a sonography test earlier, he wouldn’t have suggested a natural delivery and with further tests, her health problems could have been diagnosed, but none of that was done,” said Gangar.

While the family has repeatedly approached the police authorities to get an FIR filed, Gangar claims that each time they forward the required paperwork to the police, they return it, asking for a handwritten letter from the maternal mortality committee.

“We’ve approached the committee and received a reply but since it wasn’t handwritten, they refused to file an FIR,” she said.

The family’s advocate Prakash Gada said that as they did not receive a reply after sending a legal notice to the hospital last month, they are in the process of filing a case in the consumer court against Dr Ajay Shah.

“It is very common for the umbilical cord to get stuck around the baby’s neck in the womb, but if detected earlier, a C section is recommended, as in a few cases, the baby might get strangulated during labour. However, it isn’t easy to detect it through sonography. If the placenta separates prematurely from the uterus wall, there is internal bleeding which can cause complications. However, it is difficult to pin down the main cause behind such haemorrhage, as the causes are usually interrelated,” said Dr YS Nandanwar, head of gynaecology department, Sion hospital.

“Enquiry in this case is going on, following which we will take the required steps after evaluating the post mortem report. However, I am unaware of the details about this case and request you to contact Inspector Kothmire,” said the Senior PI of Ghatkopar police station.

Despite repeated attempts to contact Inspector Rajkumar Kothmire, he remained unavailable for comment.

The Other Side
Speaking to MiD DAY, Dr Ajay Shah said. “I don’t yet know the cause, as the case is under investigation and we are waiting for the histopathology report. However, with such bleeding, the patient doesn’t die and I suspect it could have been cambolism. She was in the labour room at the time and I live in the hospital building, so negligence is out of question. I won’t comment any further unless I get the report.” 

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