Medical negligence: Not what the doctor ordered

The near comatose condition of Mariam Kausar appears to have stirred the state’s conscience.

The near comatose condition of three year old Mariam Kausar, believed to be the result of medical negligence, appears to have finally stirred the state’s conscience.

Will the government finally crack the whip on hospitals and other medical institutions that slip up and thereby prevent such cases? Luna Dewan reports.

While three–year– old Mariam Kausar continues to battle for her life, the committee investigating her case has reportedly found fault with the doctors who treated her at the
Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Trauma and Orthopaedics (SGITO), where she was admitted for correction of a simple hand fracture some weeks ago, but did not regain
consciousness after the procedure was carried out.

The government which seems to have at last been shaken out of its inertia, is now promising to take legal action against the doctors who could be responsible for her condition.

The State Health and Family Welfare Department also plans to come out with a strong policy to deal with cases of medical negligence as it is concerned at the frequency with which they are being reported of late.

Health minister, U.T. Khadar says the four member investigating team led by health director, Geetha Nyamagowder submitted its report to the principal secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Madan Gopal on January 3, but it has not yet been discussed as he is in Delhi for a meeting. He, however, assures the government will act on the report without delay.

“We will study it soon after he returns to Bengaluru on January 10 and take legal action against those who are at fault,” he told the Deccan Chronicle.

Indicating he was worried about the rising complaints of medical negligence against hospitals, he said a strong policy would be announced soon to put a stop to them.

“The existing policy is not fully empowered and so we are working on formulating new guidelines to deal with medical negligence in the strongest possible terms. We also plan to come out with rules and regulations to check government hospital doctors who expect their patients to buy the medicines they prescribe from outside although they are freely available in their pharmacies. In future if doctors are caught doing this, action will be taken against them,” he warned.

Mariam’s parents still struggling to pay medical bills

As doctors at the Malati Manipal Hospital, Jayanagar try their best to revive little Mariam Kausar, the mother of the three-year-old has lost her appetitie and is being forcibly fed by her family.

“My wife spends her time reading the Quran and praying for our baby’s life. She does not know anything about the legal issues and just wants Mariam to open her eyes,” says the child’s father, Mudassar.

The family has been trying to get its hands on the report of the committee appointed by the government to investigate her condition, but has been told it would have to approach principal health secretary, Madan Gopal for it.

Since he is in Delhi to take care of departmental issues and is expected to reach the city on Monday, it has no choice but to wait.

Unwilling to put up with more delay, however, on his return it is planning to hold a protest on January 9 in front of Town Hall and has also lodged a complaint with the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights demanding action against the doctors who treated Mariam for the fracture she suffered while playing outdoors on December 13 last.

Meanwhile, Mudassar who claims the medical bills have run into a lakh now, says he has no clue how he is going to pay them.

“We were promised that her medical expenses would be taken care of once the report of the committee appointed by the government came out, but although it has now been submitted, no bills have been paid so far and I have no idea how I am going to bear these expenses,” he cries.

“They all are playing a game with us,” adds Mariam’s uncle, Rafiulla, bittlerly.

3-year-old still in ICU

Mariam’s recent medical reports indicate her brain condition is still poor.

Whiles she has not opened her eyes, she is responding to voices, touch and discomfort and is breathing on her own.

Mariam undergoes treatment

The child, who also cough occasionally, is getting gentle physiotherapy for her limbs. Her fractured hand remains immobilised by a splint and may need surgery at a later date.

“Mariam had an infection which is getting better now. She is stable but will continue to be in the ICU for some time,” said Dr Sudarshan Ballal, medical director and chairman, Medical Advisory Board, Manipal Health Enterprises.

Next: Poor training of anaesthetists is partly to blame

Poor training of anaesthetists is partly to blame

Dr Chikkananjappa, former president, Karnataka Medical Council

Medical negligence is being heard of quite often of late. But before the charges are made the investigating officers need to thoroughly examine the case.

In any medical procedure or surgery anaesthetists need to be very careful as the two or three minutes that oxygen is supplied to the brain are very crucial.

The entire team has to be very alert because if anything goes wrong at this point the patient can become comatose and sometimes brain–dead.

It is very necessary for the anaesthetist to remain at the hospital or the surgery ward post-operation till the patient returns to his or her senses.

In the case of 3 month old Sirish in 2013, the anaesthetist left immediately after the procedure and it was then that the complications started to set in.

If the treating doctors are found guilty, the government has every right to take stern action against them under the rules.

If the doctor is a registered practitioner under the Karnataka Medical Council, he will be suspended for particular period and if the negligence is of a higher degree, removed from the medical profession altogether.

The increasing cases of medical negligence we are seeing of late could probably be the result of poor training of anaesthetists.

( Source : dc )
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