The Bombay high court on Friday issued notices to the chief executive officer and two doctors of the LH Hiranandani Hospital in Powai for alleged death due to negligence of a patient on February 8.
A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice AV Mohta issued the notices to Dr CEO Dr Sujit Chatterjee, Dr Jairam Aithwal and Dr Baresh Dedhiya after Pramod Nawar (43), brother of the deceased filed a petition alleging that the hospital refused to release the body until the outstanding bill amount of over Rs 4.52 lakh was cleared.
Madhusudan Nawar (54) was admitted to Sanjeevani Hospital at Bhandup on January 9 following a heart attack. he was referred to the LH Hiranandani Hospital where he was shifted on January 10. The same day the angioplasty was conducted on him by Dr Jairam Aithal who claimed the surgery had been successful.
NN Gawankar and Arfan Sait, lawyers for Pramod argued that despite the angioplasty Madhusudan's condition started deteriorating within two days. On January 13, Dr Aithwal told his family that he was suffering from lung infection. "Madhusudan was treated for lung infection till February 6 when suddenly Dr Aithwal told the family that he was suffering from kidney failure and advised dialysis treatment," Gawankar told the court. Also, dialysis was conducted on him on two occasions.
Pramod's petition alleges that Dr Chatterjee and Dr Aithwal were "demanding money and threatening the petitioner (Pramod) to stop Madhusudan's treatment." Till February of the total bill of Rs 7.82 lakh, Pramod and his family had paid Rs 3.3 lakh.
"Despite repeated requests by the family to discharge Madhusudan so that he can be taken to another hospital, the doctors refused to discharge him, said Pramod. On February 8, Madhusudan was declared dead at around 5 pm," said Gawankar.
Alleging death by negligence on the part of the doctors, Pramod has approached the High Court seeking that his brother's body is discharged and that investigation be carried into his death.
Public prosecutor Satish Borulkar told the court the police could take charge of the body only after court order. 'AT this stage FIR for negligence cannot be lodged. An expert has to ascertain negligence after conducting post mortem following which an FIR can be lodged," argued Borulkar.
Pramod has lodged a complaint with the Powai police station. The court called the senior inspector of the Powai police station, Suhas Rane, who assured the court that they are acting on Pramod's complaint.
Expressing apprehension that it might be too late to conduct initial inquiry by February 12, the high court has asked the police to take possession of the body from the Hiranandani Hospital and shift it to the government morgue at Rajawadi Hospital in central Ghatkopar. The court has directed that a post mortem be conducted on the body on Saturday and submit the in the High Court on February 12.
Dr Chatterjee told Hindustan Times that while admitting the patient the family had deposited Rs 3.5 lakhs and he was given the required treatment like angioplasty. "We have even given them a concession of Rs 1.7 after they expressed that they were not in a position to pay up the bill of Rs 7 lakhs. We asked the family to submit their below poverty line certificates or ration card. But they failed to provide even that making it difficult for us to give them any other concessions," said Dr Chatterjee.
After a point even the hospital's expenses also have to be kept in mind also there was never a case of medical negligence at any point, added Dr Chatterjee. "The best way is to conduct a post mortem and establish the truth. Ironically, even for once we never uttered that the dead body would be kept with us if they fail to pay up. They never approached us for any mutual discussions and straightway moved the court," he added.