Cops overlooked rules while filing medical negligence case

Jun 11, 2013, 01:57 IST | Sandip Kolhatkar and Anup Satphale

Doctors from Indian Medical Association claim police filed a complaint against three physicians, following the death of a young boy, without seeking a mandatory investigation report from a doctors' committee of Sassoon General Hospital

On Saturday, Kothrud police had booked three doctors affiliated to Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital for ‘medical negligence’ after the death of a four-and-a-half year- old boy who was suffering from the rare chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) and operated for a cord blood transplant on May 3. The boy, however, died due to complications on May 28.

The family of the boy, Shivraj Salunke, alleged negligence on part of the three doctors, and forced cops to register a case. Doctors from Indian Medical Association’s Pune chapter, however, claim that the police filed a complaint against the physicians without seeking an investigation report on medical negligence from a doctors’ committee of Sassoon General Hospital, which is mandatory in each and every medical negligence case.

A group of doctors from IMA yesterday met commissioner of police Gulabrao Pol and informed him about the goof-up by Kothrud police. The three medical practitioners who have been booked in the case are Dr Sameer Melinkeri, Dr Shailesh Kanvinde and assistant Dr Varsha Pawar.

As per Supreme Court orders and a government circular, if a patient dies during or after treatment and the kith and kin allege that the doctors or the hospital is responsible for the death, that case should be sent to an expert committee of doctors of the state-run hospital and in the findings of the panel of the doctors, if the particular doctor or the hospital is held guilty of ‘medical negligence’ then police can register a case under section 304 (death caused by the negligence). Till the report is submitted to the police, they cannot go ahead and lodge a complaint against the doctors.

“In this case the police did not follow procedures. We met police commissioner Mr Pol regarding the issue and also sought necessary action against the concerned cops, who violated norms and registered a case of negligence,” said Dr Jayant Navarange, consulting paediatrician and committee member at IMA.

Navarange has quoted two cases “Jacob Mathew vs State of Punjab & Anr on August 5, 2005, and Martin F D’Souza vs Mohd Ishfaq on February 17, 2009. As per the judgment in these cases, the concerned case should be submitted to the committee at the tertiary hospital and as per the findings, a case may be filed if there is negligence. The court order also says that if this does not happen, then suo moto action should be taken against concerned officials.”

Assured of inquiry
Navrange says the police chief assured him that the zonal deputy commissioner would initiate the inquiry in this case and if anyone is found guilty, the concerned officer would be penalised.

When contacted, investigation officer assistant inspector GR Inamdar of Kothrud police station said, “The deceased’s father alleged in the complaint that his son was admitted to the hospital for the cord blood transplant on May 3 and the procedure took place on May 5. However, despite knowing that the condition of the child was critical, the main doctor, Dr Melinkeri, went on leave on May 15 and gave the charge to Dr Kanvinde and Dr Varsha Pawar.”

He said that on that basis, police registered a case against the three doctors for negligence, and now they have sent all the medical reports to the doctors’ committee in Sassoon. After receiving their findings, further course of action will be decided. “Till then, no more steps will be taken in this case,” he said.

Shivraj’s father Baban Sripati Salunke (45), a constable with Akluj police in Solapur, had alleged in his complaint that Dr Melinkeri went on leave and gave charge to Dr Kanvinde, despite knowing that his son was critical.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Dr Melinkeri said, “The child was suffering from chronic granulomatous, and chances of survival in such cases are bleak. The boy was admitted to the hospital and on May 5, I performed the cord blood transplant and after that he was stable.”

“I went on leave from May 15. However, before that I went and met his parents, and told them that Dr Kanvinde will look after the child. But, after three days the child developed some complications, had fever, was later diagnosed with pneumonia, and died on May 28,” he said.  

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