Negligence? Woman dies post eye surgery in south Mumbai hospital

Mar 05, 2014, 08:27 IST | Anuradha Varanasi

Family of 55-year-old say doctors cited post-op complications and asked them to shift her to another facility, but she was ‘cold, unconscious’ when she was wheeled out of operation theatre

The family of a 55-year-old woman, who underwent a major eye surgery at Babulnath’s Bombay City Eye Institute & Research Centre, alleged that she died right after the surgery was conducted due to negligence of doctors at the hospital.

Emelia Noronha underwent the eye reconstruction surgery on February 26
Emelia Noronha underwent the eye reconstruction surgery on February 26

While the woman’s post-mortem was conducted in state-run JJ Hospital the day after, an incident report was filed in Gamdevi police station.

Sakinaka resident Emelia Noronha was admitted to the privately run hospital on February 26, and underwent a surgery for reconstruction of her eye socket around 4 pm. The operation lasted for an hour, but she had to be rushed to a nearby hospital shortly after the procedure.

“We were informed by doctors that there had been some complication and oxygen wasn’t reaching her heart and that she had to be shifted to the ICU. We agreed, but soon after she was wheeled out of the operation theatre (OT), her body felt very cold to touch and she was unconscious,” said one of her relatives, Ajay Lambore.

“Though the treating doctor, Akash Shah, told us she died in the ambulance while she was being transferred to another hospital, we are convinced that she died in the OT itself,” he added. Police officials were alerted, and they recorded the statements of the hospital’s doctors.

Noronha used to live with her family in Sakinaka and worked as a tuition teacher. She was declared dead around 6 pm by doctors at nearby Dalvi Hospital, and her body was shifted to JJ Hospital where a post-mortem was conducted on February 27. Later the same day, her last rites were conducted. Noronha has an 18-year-old daughter.

“We will file an FIR against the doctors to take this case forward; we have only managed to file a complaint so far. The post-mortem report will be submitted to the police as well,” added Lambore.

The senior inspector of Gamdevi police station, Rajaram Prabhu, said, “Enquiry in the case is going on and since it is an alleged medical negligence case, an incident report was filed. Once the chemical analysis report is ready and the panel of doctors determines whether it was a case of natural death or negligence, we will file an FIR.”

The other side
Speaking to mid-day, Dr Kulin Kothari from Bombay City Eye Institute & Research Centre said, “The patient was administered general anaesthesia by Dr Uma and the surgery was conducted by Dr Akash Shah. The surgery was conducted successfully, after which, following a night’s rest, patients are usually given a discharge.

However, in this case, following the surgery, she did not regain consciousness and her oxygen levels were also low. That is when Dr Uma realised she wasn’t coming out of anaesthesia well, and we then called for a cardiac ambulance to take her to Dalvi Hospital. Unfortunately, she passed away in the ambulance.”

>> Emelia Noronha underwent reconstruction surgery at the Bombay City Eye Institute 
>> After operation, her family was asked to take her to Dalvi Hospital
>> While doctors say she died in ambulance, kin say she died in OT itself

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