Relatives blame doctors at Sion hospital for not admitting 10-month-old in time; upset residents cancelled 20 surgeries; public hospitals threaten to go on strike today
In the wee hours of Thursday, yet another incident of violence against doctors occurred at civic-run Sion hospital after a 10-month-old Sajiya Shaikh died in the hospital allegedly due to negligence on the part of resident doctors.
Aggrieved by the delayed treatment of the infant, four of her relatives allegedly thrashed resident Dr Vishnu Dhadwad.
Upset with the incident, Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) of Sion hospital called a strike, cancelling 20 major surgeries in the hospital.
The four accused, Kurshid Sheikh (35), Shabnam Sheikh (22), Sadam Siddique (18) and Mehtab Siddique (20), all residents of Dharavi, are currently under judicial custody.
Sion hospital has a total of 500 resident doctors who refused to work after the incident. With the support of doctors from other civic- and government-run hospitals, the doctors have threatened to go on a strike today as well.
Dr Nirmala Barse, assistant dean of Sion hospital, said, "We could perform only eight planned surgeries and two emergencies in the day. All our 366 senior doctors were present to handle the hospital in the absence of resident doctors."
Sajiya's father Farhid Ahmed has alleged that doctors did not admit his daughter in time. "We had taken her on September 3 to Sion hospital, as she had diarrhoea.
We told the doctor to admit her but he said it's not needed and asked us to buy ORS powder and make her drink that.
Next day Sajiya's condition did not improve and we went to the hospital. But doctors did not admit her. My mother, Bakhridinisa, begged the doctor to treat her but he said that we should go to a private hospital.
Next day we took her to a private hospital, where doctors told us to take her to Sion hospital as she was serious. That is when they admitted her," said Noorbanu, paternal aunt of Sajiya.
According to relatives, Sajiya had cough and cold along with diarrhoea when she was admitted in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
On September 6, she was shifted to the general ward after her condition improved. But the same day, she suffered a convulsion followed by a cardiac arrest. Doctors successfully resuscitated her.
"They transferred her to the PICU again, where she suffered another cardiac arrest and even after resuscitation, she could not be revived," said a senior doctor from Sion hospital.
"After doctors declared Sajiya's dead around 1 am on Thursday, her parents and grandmother were weeping in the PICU.
Sajiya's close relatives went to ward number 21-22 to collect Sajiya's items, where they spotted Dr Vishnu Dhadwad.
He first hit Shabnam Sheikh (child's aunt) and thus the four hit him back," alleged Noorbanu.
But Dr Vishnu, who has polio in his right leg, said, "The relatives came suddenly and started hitting me; I did not even know why they were doing it.
I had just seen their child once and she was suffering from diarrhea then She had no signs of pneumonia when she first arrived."
Doctors said Dr Vishnu has suffered a right hand fracture and multiple bruises. Khwaja Husain, another kin of Sajiya, alleged that the doctors were insisting that Sajiya's parents undergo an HIV test.
"We just could not understand why they were worried about the parents when the child was ill," alleged Husain.
The Sion police arrested the four two of them women for attacking the doctor on duty at Sion hospital and breaking windowpanes yesterday around 1.15 am.
"Based on the complaint filed by the victim (Doctor Dhadwad), the four were arrested in the morning," said SI Dilip Patil.
Dean Dr Sandhya Kamat, said, "We want the police to take a complaint for a non-cognisable offence against the relatives, as it is shameful to hit doctors."
MARD President for Sion hospital, Dr Yogesh Pawar, said, "This is the sixth such incident in the last seven months; we will not tolerate such acts against doctors.
We want more security in the hospital. We want the relatives to be booked under the Doctors Protection Act."