Family files complaint after girl dies in surgery

20 June, 2016

The family of a 13-year-old girl, who died after undergoing tonsillectomy at Government Vellore Medical College Hospital (GVMCH) on Saturday, alleged medical negligence and have lodged a complaint with police.

Monisha, a resident of Thiruvalam and student of Class VIII in Thiruvalam Government Girls Higher Secondary School, was admitted to the hospital on June 13 to undergo the surgical procedure.

The procedure was performed on Saturday morning and her family was informed at about 12.30 p.m. that her heartbeat and pulse had dropped. She died at 12.45 p.m.

The hospital authorities said the cause of death was “cardiopulmonary arrest , a rare condition”.

“She was normal throughout the week, and even hours before the surgery. The hospital staff obtained the signature for surgery from her mother, Amsa, at 9.15 a.m. on Saturday. At 12.20 p.m., they told her she was yet to regain consciousness after the surgery. About 10 to 15 minutes later, they informed her heartbeat was down and the pulse was dropping,” S. Udayakumar, Monisha’s uncle said.

He said at 12.45 p.m., the family was informed that the girl had died and asked them to take the body to their village. Her parents – N. Velu and Amsa – took her body home on Saturday.

On Sunday, relatives and villagers staged a protest at the hospital demanding action against doctors. The body was brought back to the hospital for post-mortem.

“On Saturday, the girl’s father did not want a post-mortem to be conducted and signed papers before taking the body. The post-mortem was done on Sunday. It showed that she died due to cardiopulmonary arrest due to bronchospasm,” Usha Sadasivam, dean of GVMCH said.

She said bronchospasm was a rare condition that occurred in one out of 10,000 cases. It is like wheezing that can cause obstruction in the airway.

In Monisha’s case, respiratory tract infection could have caused it, she said. “We tried for one-and-a-half hours to revive her, but could not,” she added. Doctors denied negligence on the part of the surgeon and anaesthetist.

On a complaint from Monisha’s father Velu, who runs a small meat shop, police have registered a case under Section 174 of CrPC.

Error in note 

Relatives of the girl pointed out that the hospital had made a wrong entry in the note when the body was handed over. The note records the date , signed by the Medical Superintendent, as June 17, instead of June 18.

Dr. Sadasivam said a memo has been issued to the nurse who made the entry.


Relatives allege medical negligence, but doctors say the patient died due to bronchospasm