Indrani Mukerjea drug overdose: Was there an attempt to hide 'drug overdose' findings?

Apr 09, 2018, 07:08 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Constable taking her urine sample loses it, but JJ hospital doctors, keeping in mind an earlier such instance, had kept back-up samples

Indrani Mukerjea
Indrani Mukerjea

Was there an attempt to derail the 'drug overdose' line of diagnosis given for Indrani Mukerjea, who was brought to JJ hospital unconscious late on Friday night? This concern is being raised after a constable to whom Indrani's urine sample, along with her gastric lavage (stomach wash) sample, was entrusted to be taken to Kalina forensic lab for toxin screening, returned to the hospital, saying the urine sample had leaked, asking for another.

Indrani is undergoing treatment in JJ hospital’s Critical Care Unit. File pic
Indrani is undergoing treatment in JJ hospital’s Critical Care Unit. File pic

A senior doctor said, "We had sealed the samples and preserved them in the refrigerator at Critical Care Unit (CCU) (where Indrani is admitted). On Saturday, a constable, S P Rathod, visited the CCU around 8.15 am, and the samples were handed over to him."

Two hours later, Rathod returned and informed the on-duty doctor that the urine sample had leaked. The doctor told his superiors, who had already directed the previous night that multiple samples be preserved, and hence, the hospital had the same. This time, however, the doctors called another policeman, sub-inspector Rupesh Patil, to take the samples.

Extra precautions
One of the doctors at JJ hospital treating the murder accused said, "Indrani's blood, urine and stomach wash (gastric lavage) samples were collected and sent for laboratory testing to the Kalina forensic lab. It was insisted that the samples also be sent to Hinduja hospital for toxin screening."

Extra cautious after constable Rathod's fiasco, doctors refused to hand over the second set of samples meant for Hinduja hospital directly to the police personnel, and made a doctor accompany the policeman taking those. The Byculla jail administration has released R15,000 for carrying out the required tests.

Interestingly, last time (in October 2015), Kalina forensic laboratory reports on toxins had come negative, but Hinduja hospital reports had confirmed the high presence of benzodiazepines, a class of drugs used for treating anxiety. It was later learnt that she had been prescribed medication for depression. Just like last time, this time too, Indrani is under the care of Dr Wiqar Shaikh, professor of medicine and head of unit V.

Also read: Indrani Mukerjea drug overdose: What happened inside Byculla jail


Report findings

As reported by mid-day, a patch of pneumonia was spotted on Indrani's right lower lobe in an X-ray done on Saturday night. A CT scan was done last afternoon, and the report confirmed aspiration pneumonia. She has been put on antibiotics.

Also, a committee of internal experts - Dr Sanjay Surase, superintendent, JJ hospital; Dr Vidya Nagar, professor and head of Department of Medicine; Dr Kamlesh Jagiasi, associate professor, neurology; and Dr Shaikh - set up has submitted a one-page report on Indrani's condition and line of treatment. The report, which will be sent to Byculla Jail officials, has confirmed that Indrani is being treated for a drug overdose and aspiration pneumonia.

Indrani, who regained consciousness yesterday, after 36 hours of admission, was visited by a female official from the British High Commission office to know about the UK national's condition and treatment. A senior IPS officer said, "We will have to initiate an inquiry into the happenings. Once test reports come, we will get a better clarity on whether a probe is needed."

Doctors' worry
Serious concerns have been raised about this happening with Indrani for the second time. While highly-placed prison officials downplayed the issue, saying they have not received any report from doctors treating her and that the test reports too are yet to confirm the same, a treating doctor said, "We are firm about our diagnosis. Indrani was brought in unconscious. We have removed the toxins from her system, and there has been an immediate improvement in her health. That itself establishes that it is a case of drug overdose."

A senior doctor said, "The jail administration claims it gave Indrani medicines under direct supervision of the jail guard. The police need to probe the entire timeline and what she had outside. We don't know if she had tablets outside or inside the jail; she was unconscious an hour after going to sleep at 9 pm."

Rs 15k
Amount Byculla jail administration is spending on Indrani's tests

36 hours
Time it took Indrani to regain full consciousness

Also read: Doctors confirm medicine overdose in Indrani Mukerjea's case, police to launch probe

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