More than a year has passed, but the period is not enough to heal the hurt or dry the tears for Ashok Kumar Baral, who lost his son last year. Mr Baral and his family still sit at home hoping that one day justice will be rendered for their son, Shyam Sunder Baral, who lost his life due to alleged medical negligence. Thirty seven year-old Shyam Sunder Baral died in GB Pant Hospital, Port Blair following complications arising out of acute pancreatitis on 5th October 2016. Mr Baral’s contention is that his son died due to gross medical negligence by the Doctors and the Para-medical staff of the hospital. The family has sought action against the medical staff for the medical negligence and has even approached the top brass in the Administration. Upset with no action over the past one year, a helpless father is now seriously considering for filling criminal case against the medical staff.
According to the Baral, his son Shyam Sunder Baral, Pharmacist by profession attached to CHC, Rangat was admitted in CHC Rangat at 10.30 am on September 29 last year due to sudden pain in the abdomen and vomiting while on duty. The Chief Medical Officer, CHC Rangat diagnosed the problem as Acute Pancreatitis and realizing the gravity of the condition of the patient, immediately referred him to G B Pant Hospital, Port Blair for further investigation on the same day by ambulance with a medical attendant. As part of the treatment. Ryles Tube was inserted through nose to abdomen for continuous drainage of toxic waste.
The patient reported at G B Pant hospital at about 8.20 pm and was attended by a Doctor who advised a series of test including Ultra Sonography, X-Ray and blood test, all on urgent basis. He also called a senior doctor who attended the patient and observed that the condition of the patient was not very serious. This observation of the senior doctor was not recorded on the case sheet. The senior doctor also advised for USG abdomen the next day.
The patient was diagnosed with Acute Pancreatitis with Serum Amylase reading at 2850 U/L (Which normally stays in 125 maximum). The patient was advised some injection and was left to be attended by any physician only the next day i.e. on 30th September 2015. On the next day i.e. 30th September, the Surgeon attended the patient and advised all investigations as suggested earlier by the duty doctor the previous day shortly after his arrival from Rangat. The investigation reports were received at about 12.30 pm and soon the treatment started. The patient was advised to shift to the Surgical ICU at about 1.30 pm. The Blood Pressure, Pulse as a part of general condition of the patient was normal and satisfactory.
Mr Baral told this Correspondent that since the patient was in the Surgical ICU, no personal attendant was allowed and the patient was kept under the care of medical staff only. The patient was under sedative and might have removed the Ryles Tube. This was noticed by my daughter who was allowed to see the patient at about 4 am on October 1, 2015. She reported the situation to the duty staff, who refused to take care (The said tube can be fixed only by a MBBS doctor). The tube was re-fixed at about 12.30 pm when the patient was shifted to medical ICU, the father adds. “On 1st October, I was told by the Doctor that the case is related to medicine and hence the patient was transferred to Medical ICU. But by this time, the condition of the patient deteriorated and his BP and pulse gave abnormal reading making the general condition of the patient poor. The condition of the patient was deteriorating and he was advised to be kept on Oxygen (due to removal of Ryles Tube which resulted in accumulation of toxic materials inside the abdomen in the absence of drainage facility). The patient condition was improving and he even talked with me and my family on 2nd October and 3rd October till late afternoon”, recounts Mr Baral.
On 3rd October 2015, the patient suddenly exhibited restlessness at around 9.30 pm and by 11.30 pm, the general condition become very poor. He was kept on ventilator. “The hospital failed to provide ventilator and on my personal request to the MS, who requested another doctor to spare the ventilator being used by UNICEF. The Anaesthetist was called who fixed the apparatus and the patient was kept under ventilation after being applied the Anaesthesia. On 3rd October and the next day, the effect of Anaesthesia diminished by mid-night of 4th October 2015, and despite call from the duty the staff, the Anaesthetist did not turn up for duty. The patient become critically serious in the morning of 5th October 2015 and during the normal round in the morning at about 9.30 am, a group of doctors including the Anaesthetist started discussing surrounding the patient. Even, the HOD was seen shouting why the Anaesthetist did not respond to the call of duty staff,” claims Mr Baral.
To the dismay of the entire family, Shyam Baral could not survive and was declared dead at 2.47 pm. Ashok Kumar Baral has served the Health department for 38 years as Pharmacist. His son also joined the Health department as Pharmacist. Having served the Health Department for more than three decades, Mr Baral claims that he is much aware of medical related issues and problems. “Realizing that the serum Amylase reading at 2850 U/L against a normal maximum reading of 125 with a diagnosis of Acute Pancreatitis, I continuously begged the doctor to refer my son to mainland hospital. To my horror, the HOD Surgeon told me that the patient cannot be referred as the HOD was accountable to the organization and he knows his profession better. The Medical HOD denied my request bluntly during the first phase of treatment,” says Mr Baral.
Mr Baral has raised many critical questions before the health authority. His first question is why GB Pant hospital, being the only referral hospital of the UT and the base hospital of the Medical College do not have a Gastroenterologist who was actually the right doctor to manage the case of Acute Pancreatitis? Secondly, despite his repeated request why doctor did not referred his son to mainland hospitals? Thirdly, when a MBBS doctor can diagnose the case as Acute Pancreatitis, then why the patient was shuttled between Surgery and Medicine Department? And lastly, whey the Anaesthetist did not respond to the urgent medical call?
Allegations of deaths due to medical negligence has become a common occurrence in the A&N Islands particularly at the GB Pant Hospital. But despite frequent reports of deaths of “medical negligence”, prosecution of the errant medicos, remedial action either by the medical authority or administration is almost non-existent in these islands.