Mumbai: Family alleges Malad hospital's negligence led to relative's death

Savita Shah (45) died while she was being transferred from a private hospital in Malad to KEM Hospital; angry relatives alleged that the ambulance was driven very slowly and the oxygen got over midway, leading to her death

While hundreds of people were bidding an emotional adieu to Aruna Shanbaug at KEM Hospital on Monday, there was a furore near the casualty department. Savita Shah (45) had been declared dead on arrival and her family alleged that the staff from a private hospital in Malad, where she was being shifted from, were to blame for her death.

Upset relatives at KEM Hospital, where Savita was declared dead on arrival. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
Upset relatives at KEM Hospital, where Savita was declared dead on arrival. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

The family began abusing the ambulance driver for driving slowly and allegedly taking nearly 80 minutes to get to KEM hospital in Parel from Malad and alleged that there had not been enough oxygen in the ambulance. They said these two factors caused Savita’s death. Malad police officials have registered an accidental death report (ADR) and are probing the charges of negligence.

The ambulance in which she was transferred
The ambulance in which she was transferred

Savita, an assistant to a private radiologist, was rushed to Riddhi Vinayak hospital, located on SV Road of Malad around 5.30 am on Monday. She had attempted suicide by drinking pesticide. Doctors admitted her to the casualty ward and began trying to stabilise her condition.

Around 12.30 pm, however, family members asked the doctors to discharge Savita. “The patient was critical when she was wheeled in and since it was a medico-legal case, we couldn’t allow the patient to be discharged. The family, however, said they couldn’t afford the treatment and wished to be taken to KEM Hospital for further treatment,” said a treating doctor from Riddhi Vinayak Hospital.

Family members and two doctors, one from the hospital and another known to the family, accompanied Savita in the ambulance, which left the hospital around 12.30pm. It allegedly took the ambulance approximately 80 minutes to reach KEM Hospital and Savita’s condition kept deteriorating. The family claimed that the oxygen cylinders in the ambulance got over midway.

Komal Shah, Savita’s niece, blamed her aunt’s death on the negligence of the hospital. “The ambulance was driven very slowly and they didn’t have sufficient oxygen for the route. My aunt died because of the negligence of the hospital authorities,” said Komal.

The other side
The official spokesperson of Riddhi Vinayak Hospital said the hospital was not to blame. “Her BP levels dropped to 60/40 and she wasn’t even able to breathe. Our doctor treated her en-route, stabilised her BP and even gave CPR.

We have two oxygen cylinders inside the ambulance at all times so it is not possible that the supply got over midway,” said Kavita Androdes. She said that a few of the family members had turned violent after the patient was pronounced dead on arrival at KEM.

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