5 top doctors from Bombay Hospital charged with homicide after patient's death

Published: 25 October, 2013 09:41 IST | Varun Singh |

FIR registered after Colaba resident Nandini Suchde alleged that her mother Gitika Ghosh died while being treated for femur fracture at Bombay Hospital in January this year due to negligence shown by the medical team

Five of the city’s best doctors find their names in the police books after the Azad Maidan police station registered a case of medical negligence against them.

Fighting for justice: Nandini Suchde shows a picture of her mother. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Dr M L Saraf, Dr P L Tiwari, Dr Parikh, Dr N Bharucha and Dr Borges have been booked under sections 309 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 201 (giving false information), 420 (cheating), 467 (forging of documents), 471 (fraudulent use of documents), 109 (abetment) and a few other charges.

The complaint was lodged based on allegations made by Nandini Suchde (46), a Colaba resident, whose mother Gitika Ghosh died while being treated at the hospital due to negligence shown by the medical personnel.

Costly error: Nandini Suchde claimed that the doctors didn’t take care of her mother Gitika Ghosh and delayed shifting her to the ICU when complications arose, resulting in her death. PIC/Bipin Kokate

The case
Ghosh had been brought into Bombay Hospital from Kolkata to treat her fractured femur (thigh bone) in January this year. A panel of eight doctors was formed to treat her. 

Ghosh claimed that the doctors didn’t take care of her mother and delayed shifting her to the ICU when complications arose, resulting in her death. After Ghosh complained to the police of medical negligence in June, a panel of four doctors from the Department of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Surgery, Sir J J Group of Hospitals, was initiated to investigate into the matter. The panel found that there had been professionalnegligence and wrote to the Azad Maidan police with their report.

The letter reads, “As per the documents provided, patient Gitika Ghosh meeting was conducted on 17/06/2013 at 3.00 pm and 25/9/13 at 5.00 pm. After verifying the available documents and going through the documents. It appears to be professional negligence” (Sic) Based on these findings, the police have initiated action against the doctors. Sanjay Dalvi, police inspector from Azad Maidan Police station, the investigating officer for the case said, “We took the case based on the report from the concerned department of J J hospital. We are currently investigating the matter.” Suchde, a resident of Colaba, alleged that the doctors had not taken care of her mother well, and had kept her in the dark about her condition.

(Above top) Dr ML Saraf and Dr PL Tiwari of Bombay Hospital have been named in the FIR. File Pic

“It was an eight-doctor panel but one doctor left the panel midway. Dr Saraf, the head of the panel, without a No Objection Certificate from the departing doctor, brought in Dr P L Tiwari. We came to know later that it was Dr Saraf’s decision to change personnel,” alleged Suchde.

She also claimed that because eight doctors were treating her mother, she was given excessive medicines because of which she was always in a drowsy state during her entire stay at the hospital.  Suchde feels that had the doctors treated her mother on time, she would have been alive today. “I am not fighting for any compensation. I am fighting the case, because I want justice for my mother,” she said.

Hospital speak
A doctor from the panel clarified, “Ghosh was being treated by eight doctors because she had multiple medical problems such as diabetes and other issues. She was also aged. We tried our best but couldn’t save her.”

Dr Sanjay Sakle, spokesperson for Bombay Hospital said, “The patient was brought in with a femur fracture and other multiple medical complex problems. She was given adequate possible care at the hospital. A panel of eight doctors was treating her. Neither Bombay Hospital nor any of the doctors named have any idea about the FIR registered.”

Dr P L Tiwari was unavailable for comment, and Dr Bharucha’s assistant told this reporter that he would comment on the matter only by Monday. 

(According to Nandini Suchde)

>> December 28, 2012: My mother Gitika fell in her home in Kolkata. She was rushed to Columbia Asia Hospital in Salt Lake. Doctors treated her fractured femur bone for six days.

>> January 2, 2013: I brought my mother to Mumbai, as I wanted her to be treated by a specific doctor at Bombay Hospital. A panel of eight doctors was formed to treat her.

>> January 16: My mom was operated at Bombay hospital.

>> January 20, 10 am: She was shifted out of the ICU to a regular ward, in a drowsy state.

>> January 20, 5 pm: My mom complained of breathlessness. I kept calling doctors and nurses, even on their mobile phones but no one came to examine her.

>> January 20, 9 pm: Finally, a resident doctor arrived. He checked her and sent her samples for an electrolyte test. When I checked the file later, I found out that the doctor had written ‘suspected aspiration’ in the hospital file. (Copy available with MiD DAY)

>> January 20, 9.30 pm: Another doctor, an assistant of Dr Tiwari, came in and claimed that all was fine. But in his file, he wrote ‘SOS: Shift to ICU’.

>> January 20, 10.30 pm: The resident doctor who had asked for tests came in and said my mom was only dehydrated. I was asked to make her sleep in a sitting position.

>> January 20, 11 pm: Another doctor thoroughly checked my mom and asked her to be shifted to the ICU because of aspiration.

>> January 20, 11.55 pm: Almost an hour later, she was taken to the ICU. While she was being shifted from the 14th to the 8th floor, there was no doctor or nurse accompanying her; it was only ward boys. Neither was there any oxygen mask. While being admitted to the ICU, her sugar had gone down from 140 to 30.

>> January 21, 3.30 am: She was put on the ventilator.

>> January 21, 4 am: Dr P L Tiwari came to the hospital and even before seeing the patient, he told us that the decline in health was our fault because we shifted my mother out of the ICU earlier without asking anyone (we hadn’t done so). Later, Tiwari even told us that she would be fine by evening.

>> January 21, 8 am: Dr M L Saraf claimed he checked her and told us that her condition was improving.

>> January 21, 12.30 pm: I met Dr Saraf who told me that my mother’s condition was critical.

>> January 21, 5 pm: We were told that her organs were failing.

>> January 21, 9.30 pm: She was declared dead. 

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