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Doctors operate on four-year-old

When his four-year-old daughter Rifa was being wheeled into the cardiac operation theatre, little did Bhiwandi resident Riaz Momin know that doctors would come out baffled, five hours later, declaring there was no hole in her heart.

india Updated: Aug 12, 2008 00:18 IST
Alifiya Khan

When his four-year-old daughter Rifa was being wheeled into the cardiac operation theatre, little did Bhiwandi resident Riaz Momin know that doctors would come out baffled, five hours later, declaring there was no hole in her heart.

Last Monday, Rifa was taken for corrective surgery at KEM hospital after she was diagnosed with a hole in the heart at three different hospitals, including KEM.

But the team of surgeons led by Dr Anil Patwardhan, head of cardiac surgery department at KEM, found no hole.

“Though it is unusual, sometimes these erratic disturbances do occur. The girl underwent a multitude of diagnostic tests like echocardiogram, 2D echo at three different hospitals that confirmed the diagnosis,” said Dr ME Yeolekar, KEM dean. “Sometimes the diagnosis is observer specific too.”

While Dr Patwardhan was abroad and could not be contacted, Dr Dwarkanath Kulkarni, senior cardiac surgeon at KEM, said, “When the diagnostic case showed the anomaly, we decided to operate. But on the operating table doctors found no hole in heart.”

“My child was unwell since birth with respiratory problems. I consulted a local doctor who referred me to a bigger hospital, indicating there was a hole in heart,” said Riaz, a taxi driver who spent over Rs 1.25 lakh on the treatment. “I took her to a Thane hospital where they quoted a high price for surgery.” At KEM they performed tests and suggested other tests at a private lab too.

“I want to know who is responsible for my child’s trauma. Someone has to take responsibility,” said Riaz.

“I haven’t heard of such a case. The echo-cardiogram must have been analysed wrongly by a junior person,” said Dr Lekha Pathak, senior cardiologist at Breach Candy Hospital.

Perhaps no one can answer Riaz’s question: “How could so many doctors go wrong?”

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