22 November, 2016

Human rights commission asks state to initiate action against 3 doctors for being 'negligent'.

Eight years after a couple from Bhiwandi lost their baby during delivery at the Thane Civil Hospital, the state human rights commission has now asked the Maharashtra government to initiate disciplinary action against three doctors for being “negligent”.

It is, however, a case of justice delayed, justice denied. One of the three civic doctors named in the commission’s report has already fled the country.

The human rights commission order, which was received by the couple, Haresh and Preeti Patil, three days ago, terms their ordeal as “one of the worst cases of medical negligence in the country”, and directs the state to pay the couple a Rs 5-lakh compensation with 12% interest per annum from the time of filing the complaint.

The report names gynaecologists Dr Anuradha Nandpurkar -- in whose care Preeti was admitted after she went into labour – and Dr S Shinde, besides Dr (Mrs) Nagarkar, the then in-charge of the labour ward at the Thane Civil Hospital.

The police complaint filed by the couple said that Preeti went into labour on April 30, 2008, and was rushed to the Thane Civil Hospital where Dr Nandpurkar advised delivery by a Caesarean section. The complaint said that Preeti, then aged just 19, was left unattended for the next four hours, as Nandpurkar allegedly went off to attend to patients at her private clinic.

“In the meantime, the baby got stuck during labour and choked to death. Nandapurkar rushed back to the hospital but it was too late. My wife is fortunate to have survived the ordeal,” Haresh Patil said in his complaint.

After the complaint was filed at the Thane Nagar Police Station and a post-mortem was conducted at JJ Hospital, the state government formed a committee to probe the matter, but nothing came of it. The couple were helped by an NGO called Madat, which hired advocate Anuradha Pardeshi to argue the case before the state human rights commission.

“The case dragged on as there was nobody to head the commission for some time. The hearing restarted only two years ago,” said Shashi Agarwal from the NGO. In its order, the commission has also made several recommendations, such as training staff at government and civic-run hospitals to handle such emergencies, and filling up vacant posts.

Advocate Pardeshi called the commission’s order a “landmark judgment”. “Hopefully now, we will see a massive change in the way patients are treated at government and civicrun centres,” she said.