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Televised surgery goes fatal

india Updated: Sep 13, 2006 02:45 IST
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Two out of three patients operated upon at a workshop of doctors last week in Kolkata died after developing complications — just hours after their surgeries.

The Association of Surgeons of India had organised the workshop — meant to showcase the skills of the country’s top surgeons and the latest techniques — on September 8 at the Calcutta Medical College. Other doctors had watched the surgeries live on television screens.

The two who died were operated upon by T.K. Chatterjee of AIIMS, Delhi, and R.S. Nayak of the Bangalore Medical College. The surgeons ruled out negligence, but said they were disappointed. They said the surgeries had gone well initially and they were surprised by the complications.

T.K. Chatterjee’s patient was a 68-year-old man suffering from oesophagus cancer, while Nayak’s patient was a woman with rectum cancer. Both patients died after developing the same complication — blood coagulation failure.

T.K. Chatterjee told HT: “My patient was ill — I had to remove tumours from the chest and throat — but not terminally ill. Only one of 10 patients dies in such cases and my surgery, too, appeared to be going well. But later, the patient had to be put on life support.”

Nayak said his patient looked all right after the surgery. “But I later noticed bleeding from a drain tube installed in the rectum. I performed another open operation but could not locate the source of the bleeding. She died of blood coagulation failure. It is difficult to say why, but there might have been a reaction to either blood transfusion or medicines,” Nayak said.

The organisiers of the workshop were reluctant to comment. Sarfaraj Beg, secretary, Association of Surgeons of India, told HT: “My fellow secretary Gautam Chatterjee and I will brief you later.” It did not happen.

The association's state president, Bhabani Prasad Chakraborty, said he had only heard of the deaths. Calcutta Medical College superintendent Anup Roy said he would speak only to the director of medical education.

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