When Pankaj Shukla (14) went to the Sion Hospital for treatment for a minor fracture little could he have imagined that he would have to pay with his left hand.
Resident of Sion and a student of standard VII, Shukla was playing in the neighbourhood on Saturday evening when he fell down and broke his hand. His father Rajendra Shukla alleged that he was not given immediate medical attention even as he was howling in immense pain. "It was only after a couple of hours that the doctors informed us that he would be operated upon that night itself," added Rajendra, a taxi driver.
But, the operation never happened till Sunday afternoon. "The hospital came up with excuses that the emergency ward was packed and the bed would be available only after seven days," said Rajendra adding that in between doctors never gave them a hint that without the operation the situation could be so bad.
Meanwhile, the orthopedic department of the Sion Hospital refuted the charges of medical negligence. "The patient was given antibiotics and pain killer injections and also a slab as soon as he was brought in here," said Dean Dr ME Yeolekar pointing out that he had checked the records.
Rajendra further alleged that since they did not operate upon him till Monday night, Pankaj got a gangrene infection and doctors at Hinduja Hospital had to amputate his hand on Tuesday morning. "After lying there for three days without treatment we had no option but to shift him to Hinduja Hospital knowing well that we cannot afford the hefty charges there," said Nagendra Shukla, Pankaj's uncle. He alleged that had they operated Shukla on Saturday itself, he would not have lost his hand.
However, Dr Yeolekar said that it was a natural course of treatment that took them three days. "It was an open compound fracture where the chances of infection are high and doctors cannot rush for a surgery till the gangrene infection is prominent," he added. In fact, the family got really upset when they were informed about amputation and shifted Pankaj to other hospital thinking that it could be avoided, said Yeolekar.
The family is seeking legal action against the doctor for what they call 'criminal negligence'. "We will be filing a police complaint on Thursday," said an aggrieved Nagendra adding that they were too poor to pay Hinduja hospital for the surgery. "Now, we are clueless on how to get him discharged and take home."
Email Sumitra Deb Roy: sumitra .firstname.lastname@example.org