Mumbai doctor in the dock as diabetic patient dies following jaggery treatment

He allegedly ignored the surgeon’s recommendation on shifting the SRPF personnel out, administered blood transfusions twice despite orders against it and introduced jaggery in the diabetic patient’s diet

A doctor at the Nagpada Police Hospital, the nodal health centre for the police force in Byculla, has come under the lens of a high-level committee formed last month to probe the death of a State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) cook during treatment at the facility last December.

Booba Poojari (inset) was admitted to the Nagpada Police Hospital for weakness on December 3, 2015. Pic/Datta KumbharBooba Poojari (inset) was admitted to the Nagpada Police Hospital for weakness on December 3, 2015. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

Dr GK Sanap, MD (medicine) and medical officer at the police hospital, allegedly ignored police surgeon Dr SM Patil’s recommendation on shifting the cook to JJ Hospital or Bombay Hospital, administered blood transfusions twice — despite orders against it — and introduced jaggery in the diabetic patient’s diet.

In cold storage
The cook, Booba Poojari (48), reportedly an alcoholic, had served as an assistant cook with SRPF Group B for over 20 years. On December 3 last year, he was admitted for weakness to the police hospital under the care of Dr Sanap. He died six days later. Poojari’s body was sent to JJ Hospital for an autopsy and the Nagpada police registered an accidental death report under Section 174 of the CrPC.

Soon after, a letter, reportedly signed by Poojari’s son, Kaushal, was sent to the CM, requesting a high-level probe into the matter. Kaushal (19), however, told mid-day that neither has he written the letter nor does he have a complaint against anyone.

The matter went into cold storage, but last month, the police surgeon received a letter from the deputy director of health services, Thane, asking for a probe into the death. Accordingly, a committee was set up and it found serious lapses on the part of Dr Sanap.

Dr Patil confirmed that a probe was conducted against Dr Sanap. “The histopathology report [of Poojari] is awaited. Only forensic surgeons can tell us the exact cause of death after they receive this,” he said.

‘No one will be spared’
While Dr Ratna Raokande, deputy director, health services, said she has asked the police surgeon to send a detailed report within a week, along with the statements of nurses and other hospital staff, Dr Patil said the report was sent to the health department last week itself. Dr Raokande refused to comment on this claim.

Dr Mohan Jadhav, director, health services, said he is yet to see the report. “In case any negligence is found on the part of the treating doctor, necessary action as per the rules will be taken.”

Anup Kumar Singh, JCP (administration), said the report is with the health department and it is up to it to take the necessary course of action.

The other side
Dr Sanap said he had explained his line of treatment in the police statement. “The police surgeon does not like me or want me in his hospital, and is hence, finding ways to malign my image.”

On the allegations that he refused to follow the orders on shifting the patient and against administering blood transfusions, he said, “I have all the papers with me and nowhere did the police surgeon order these. Blood transfusions were needed as the patient was anaemic.”

He promised to send copies of the police statement to mid-day, but failed to do so despite being given sufficient time.

Dr Sanap’s friend questioned the veracity of the committee’s findings. “How did the committee not call Dr Sanap to present his side of the story? How could a one-sided report be submitted without hearing the treating doctor’s version?” he asked.

Reacting to Dr Sanap’s claims, Dr Patil said, “I have followed the orders of the health department [on setting up the probe panel]. The case papers are in the hospital. On December 7, I told Dr Sanap to shift the patient and not administer blood transfusion. Instructions were also given to the ward nurses. When the blood was brought in, the nurses refused to administer it. But Dr Sanap administered it without my permission, which amounts to insubordination.”

Committee findings
>> High-level sources privy to the findings of the probe report told mid-day that Poojari died of multi-organ failure, with a clear patch of pneumonia that was visible on the X-ray taken on the day of admission. “But it was not mentioned by the treating doctor in the medical record. Neither was any intravenous antibiotic prescribed for pneumonia,” said a source.

>> The blood test report showed that the level of potassium was very low, but the doctor did not administer adequate intravenous potassium.

>> Although Poojari’s blood sugar level was exceedingly high, glucose was administered intravenously and jaggery introduced in his diet. “No regular monitoring of blood and urine sugar was done till the end,” said the source.

>> Poojari was administered a blood transfusion on December 7, even after the police surgeon advised against it and recommended shifting the patient to JJ Hospital or Bombay Hospital.

>> No written consent was taken from the family for the transfusion. A second blood transfusion was done on December 8, allegedly without even checking the haemoglobin level.

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