2010 abortion case: Nine doctors booked for causing patient's death

Feb 08, 2013, 07:58 IST | Anup Satphale and Sandip Kolhatkar

Over two years after a pregnant woman died from complications due to an abortion that was allegedly carried out without her or her husband's consent, the Pimpri police have booked nine doctors, including three from a private hospital and six from Sassoon General Hospital, following a Sessions Court order on February 4, 2013.

 This case dates back to January 31, 2010, when Yogita Panikar, then 32 years old, was admitted to Saphalya Nursing Home after complaining of abdominal pain. 

Under question: Six doctors from the Sassoon General Hospital, who were on the expert panel and allegedly gave doctors treating Yogita Panikar at Saphalya Hospital a clean chit, have also been booked. File Pic

According to the victim’s husband Raju, the doctors treating Yogita were unavailable, and junior doctors took the decision to go ahead with an abortion without their consent. The procedure caused severe damage to her uterus, eventually leading to her death.  Raju said that he approached the police to file an FIR against the doctors, but alleged that his pleas were turned down stating that they could do nothing without a medical expert’s report citing medical negligence as cause of death. 

Through his lawyer advocate Sushil Mancharkar, Panikar filed a Right To Information (RTI) application and received information that the committee of doctors at Sassoon Hospital had given a report that the possible cause of death was a painkiller injection. But the same could not be confirmed.

This information prompted Raju to approach the Sessions Court and after a court order, the Pimpri police booked nine doctors under various sections, including Sections 4 and 5 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting murder) of the Indian Penal Code and 120 B for criminal conspiracy.

The six doctors from the Sassoon hospital, who were on the expert panel that allegedly gave a clean chit to the doctors treating the victim, are among those booked.  Dr Ajit Devdatta Joshi, Dr Ambalal Gurram, Dr Sonali Chipade from Saphalya Nursing Home and Dr D G Kulkarni, Dr K B Kelkar, Dr R T Borse, Dr S C Puranik, Dr P W Sambarey and Dr S B Punpale from the Sassoon hospital are the nine doctors booked in the case. 

The police had consulted the Sassoon hospital for expert opinion, which was given by a team of six doctors. According to Yogita’s autopsy report, a reaction to Dynapar may have caused death. As the doctors could not be slapped with negligence, they were given a clean chit by the expert committee.

Mancharkar, who is representing Raju, said, “There was no coordination among doctors at Saphalya Nursing Home. We also felt that the report prepared by doctors from Sassoon is biased.”

When contacted, Dr D G Kulkarni, medical superintended of the Sassoon General Hospital, said, “I came to know about it today and do not have any information about the matter.” S B Punpale, head of the Forensic Science Department, said, “I was not aware about the case filed and the allegations made. The mater is already in court now, so I can’t comment.”

Police Sub-Inspector P R Zanjurne from the Pimpri police station, who is investigating the case, said, “After receiving the orders from the court to probe the case, we investigated the matter.

After that a case was registered against six doctors from Sassoon, including the medical superintendent of the hospital and three doctors from a private hospital for alleged medical negligence resulting in the death of the pregnant woman in 2010.” 

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