32-year-old man Rajesh Maru, who was visiting a relative at Nair Hospital, died in a freak accident after getting trapped under an MRI machine in January 2018. In what was termed as a shocking and gross case of negligence, Maru was sucked into the MRI machine after he entered the room. Rajesh Maru was holding the oxygen cylinder for the relative who was supposed to undergo a scan and got pulled into the MRI machine. He lost his life as a result of inhaling excessive oxygen that oozed out of the cylinder.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners use strong magnetic fields, electric field gradients, and radio waves to generate images of organs in the body. Metallic objects are not allowed in MRI rooms. In the Nair Hospital incident, the victim's family claimed the ward boy allegedly asked Maru to carry the oxygen cylinder in the room as the machine was switched off. However, the powerful magnetic field of the machine pulled Maru towards it along with the oxygen cylinder as soon as he entered the MRI room (Representational picture)
Rajesh's father Galal Maru told mid-day, "Harish and Rajesh were wheeling Laxmi on a stretcher to the MRI room. When they reached outside it, they were asked to remove their gold ornaments and other metal items they had on them. A ward boy asked my son to hold Laxmi's oxygen cylinder and go inside. Rajesh even asked him then if the machine was on, but the staffer merely said this was their daily work and not to worry."
Rajesh's father Galal Maru added, "The minute he stepped inside, the machine pulled him. His hand holding the cylinder got trapped in it, leading to the cylinder's flow meter breaking and the oxygen leaking, directly onto his face. Harish and the ward boy started to try and free him, and succeeded only after his left ring finger broke. But by the time they took him into the emergency ward, he was dead."
Later, a team from electronics giant Philips and senior doctors visited Nair hospital's radiology department to remove the oxygen cylinder and deceased Rajesh Maru's severed finger. An internal committee was formed to make more stringent rules at radiology wards to prevent such incidents in the future
The family claimed that a compensation of Rs 5 lakh that was promised by the Chief Minister’s Office was not paid to them
Family of Lalbaug resident Rajesh Maru, who were desperate to finish the last rites completely, paid a visit to the hospital only to return empty-handed. A family member said, "We are Hindus, and it is essential for us to cremate all body parts for peace to the deceased's soul. While we have cremated him, we need to do the same to his finger. So, we have been making rounds of the hospital to retrieve it."
In this moment of grief, another tragedy struck the bereaved family — Laxmi Solanki, 65, mother-in-law of Rajesh Maru's sister for whose treatment he was at the hospital that day, succumbed to her illness
It was Laxmi that Maru had been escorting to the MRI room on January 27, 2018, as per doctor's orders, for a scan. Maru had been carrying her oxygen cylinder, which the hospital staff allegedly asked him to take along inside the room, even after he expressed apprehension over taking a metal object inside. The staff told him not to worry and go in, but the minute he stepped inside, the machine pulled him, trapping his hand holding the cylinder. His finger broke during the attempts made to free him
The final rites of Maru was done. However the family was waiting for the severed finger. As per officials, experts from Philips, the manufacturer of the MRI machine, were supposed to start working to remove the oxygen cylinder and the finger from it
The police registered a case against three people — Dr Saurabh Lanjrekar, 24, ward boy Vitthal Chavan, 35, and maid Sunita Surve and arrested them
Idzes Kundan, additional municipal commissioner (health) said, "Through the CCTV footage, we found out that the ward boy and female attendant at the MRI centre didn't follow the safety rules. They should have stopped Maru from going inside with the cylinder. They have already been suspended and we will hold another inquiry against them. This was just the preliminary report, there will be another, more detailed one." Dr Ramesh Bharmal, the superintendent of the hospital, said he is unaware of the findings of the report
Rajesh Maru's family have been looking for his severed finger for four months, but no one has bothered to inform them that it has been lying unclaimed at the Kalina Forensic Laboratory all this time. While Maru's family cremated the body soon after the accident, they desperately searched for the finger in order to complete the last rites for the severed body part.
In June 2019, the family of Rajesh Maru has received his fingers that were stuck in the machine for a few days and later kept at Kalina Forensic Library for almost 18 months. Made to run from pillar to post to receive Maru's fingers, the family was finally approached by Agripada police regarding receiving them. Despite confirming that the finger belonged to Maru and a report being submitted to police months ago, the finger remained at KFL for months.
It was an emotional day for the family of Rajesh Maru on June 20 when they performed the last rites for his finger that had been returned by the forensic laboratory. The rites were done eighteen months after he died. They performed the last rites at Walkeshwar where they cremated the fingers on a pile of wood and threw the ashes in the water as per Hindu rituals. All family members including Rajesh's mother bid him the final adieu
18 months after Rajesh Maru died in a freak accident in Nair Hospital while helping an ailing relative, his family finally performed his last rites as the forensic lab returns his fingers. In what can be called as a case of gross negligence, here are the details of the 18 months-ordeal the Maru family suffered
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