Oct 17, 2014, 01.43 AM IST Ahmedabad Mirror
Himesh Vankar, who has been differently abled since birth, forgot all his struggles when he held his baby daughter in his arms for the first time. But his happiness did not last long. The Himmatnagar resident slid down the pinnacle of joy into the depths of despair 20 days later, when his wife Ganga died of septicaemia caused by a surgical swab allegedly forgotten inside her by doctors at Civil hospital. Eight months later, the 30-year-old - a tailor by profession - is now struggling to prove that his wife died of medical negligence. He filed seven applications under the Right to Information Act (RTI), seeking details of post-delivery care taken by Civil doctors. In reply, every time, the hospital handed over reports for the first day of delivery only.
Vankar then wrote to the Gujarat Medical Council seeking action against the hospital, but is still waiting for a reply. "My wife was differently abled, too. I brought Ganga to Civil hospital because I thought doctors at this reputed hospital could handle any complications that could arise during delivery due to her physical condition. But their negligence robbed my child of a mother," he said, rocking his daughter Gunjan in his arms.
Doctors had to resort to forceps delivery in Ganga's case. In aforceps delivery, a doctor applies forceps — an instrument shaped like a pair of large spoons or salad tongs — to the baby's head to help guide it out of the birth canal. Many a time, doctors make a surgical cut (episiotomy) to avoid vaginal tear, widen the passage and make the birth easier. Following delivery, doctor stitches up the cut. Gynaecologist Jayesh Amin said, "We use swabs to staunch the blood flow and remove it two hours later. If the blood flow is extreme, we may even keep it for 24 hours but never longer than that."
However, in Ganga's case, doctors allegedly goofed up the post-delivery checkup and the pad was never removed. "After coming home, the 23-year-old began complaining of pain in the vaginal area. Her health began to deteriorate," said Vankar. Ganga was finally admitted to Sir Pratap General Hospital in Himmatnagar on February 9 where Dr Bhamini Babulal Pandit operated on her. As per her note on the medical reports, Dr Pandit stated that she removed a 'pad kept at episiotomy wound' operated in Ahmedabad nine days ago. Eleven days later, Ganga died of septicaemia after bacteria from the infection poisoned her blood.
NO RTI REPLY
Dr Amin says, "Twenty-four hours after delivery, a mother's health has to be scrutinised and a report of her condition has to be maintained without fail." Vankar filed seven applications under RTI, seeking Ganga's report made on second day of her delivery. Each time, the hospital handed him only the first day report, raising questions about doctors' negligence. "Had they checked my wife the second day, they would have discovered the pad. They cannot produce the report because they never made one," said Vankar. Fed up of being stalled, Vankar wrote to GMC on August 8, seeking action against the hospital.
He never received a reply. When Mirror contacted GMC President Nitin S Vora, he said, "The man should first lodge a complaint with Civil hospital. If the hospital does not take action, it should be diverted to GMC for probe." He added, "We do not have the infrastructure to carry out detailed investigation in every case. We meet once in 2 or 3 months to discuss all cases." Medical Superintendent (Civil Hospital) M M Prabhakar said he was not aware of the case and refused to make any further comment. Meanwhile, Vankar fights on so that doctors are more careful in future when attending to patients in order to prevent another such death.