Mumbai: Doctor in the dock for burning woman's face in Dahisar

Updated: May 30, 2019, 14:25 IST | Shailesh Bhatia | Mumbai

Skin-peel treatment that doctors usually avoid on Indians, is to blame, cops open probe

The woman had sought treatment for pigmentation and spots
The woman had sought treatment for pigmentation and spots

A homemaker from Jogeshwari sustained second-degree burns on her face during a botched chemical peel treatment at a Dahisar clinic and has been left with large pus-filled wounds. She has been advised specialised laser treatment for six months to fix her face and has now stopped stepping out of the house.

In a complaint letter handed over to MHB police station, (mid-day has a copy), the woman (name withheld to protect identity) has alleged that on April 25, she had visited Dermax, a laser clinic run by Dr Atul Mishra, in Dahisar, offering a range of beauty treatments, to seek a remedy for the dark spots and uneven patches on her face.

Infected skin after the burn
Infected skin after the burn

"It was diagnosed as acne and hyperpigmentation and after primary treatment, I was advised to visit the clinic again on May 9. A chemical solution TCA 30 percent Peel was partially applied on my face. Within half-an-hour, I started experiencing acute irritation along with a burning sensation and noticed that my entire face had turned white. The doctor assured me that this was a normal reaction and applied ice plus prescribed a cream. He refused to accept money, stating that it could be settled later and asked me to leave," the woman alleged.

She said that it was her husband's birthday in two days and she wanted to look her best for the family function that had been arranged. But the treatment turned out to be her worst nightmare come true. "The pain was absolutely unbearable and under my peeling skin, I could see the burn wounds oozing pus. We were denied a doctor's appointment and had to seek help from another dermatologist, Dr Soma Sarkar, who confirmed that it was a case of second degree burns caused by the chemical treatment (mid-day has a copy of two medical reports — one private and one from a BMC hospital).

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A medical prescription to treat the burns from a civic hospital
A medical prescription to treat the burns from a civic hospital

The woman's husband said, "My wife has now been advised further treatment for the next six months. She is reluctant to meet any outsider or even step out of the house. The worst trauma for her apart from the physical pain, is that our son, who is 19 months old is scared of her and refuses to be held by her when it is feeding time. It is saddening to see her sit in a corner and weep frequently."

Dr Sarkar, MMBS, MD Dermatology, who treated the patient after she sustained the burns, was concerned by the fact that a doctor of Ayurveda, who can at best prescribe panch karma or organic face packs, conducted the treatment, which requires a high degree of specialisation. "Even us qualified doctors, with our years of training and experience, are scared to prescribe TCA 30 percent Peel, especially for Indians, who with their tanned complexions are prone to post-peel hyper pigmentation, which can result in such kind of second degree burns," said Dr. Sarkar.

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Dr Soma Sarkar's diagnosis of the state of the woman's face
Dr Soma Sarkar's diagnosis of the state of the woman's face

"Sadly doctors are able get diplomas by doing crash courses, spanning a couple of months from dubious institutions and are practising in areas which require high specialisation. Worse, instead of accepting his mistake on compassionate grounds, where a woman's face is scarred, the doctor is shrugging off responsibility."

Sr PI Pandit Thakrey of MHB police station said though the complaint had not reached him, his officers are investigating the case and would be taking suitable action. Dr Atul Mishra, who runs Dermax Laser Treatment Clinic, and allegedly prescribed and conducted the chemical peel treatment said he was travelling and would not like to comment. "You can speak to my advocate, he knows all the facts," he kept repeating, but failed to share the contact details, inspite of repeated requests.

May 9
Day the woman got the chemical treatment done

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