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Piece of needle left in body: Patient

mumbai Updated: May 10, 2011 02:21 IST
Sonal Shukla

A doctor, who underwent a spine surgery in Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Andheri, has alleged “gross negligence” claiming that the surgeon left a broken needle in her body.

Dr Aruna Bora, 57, a general practitioner, underwent the spine surgery on December 2. “The post-operative X-ray , which we collected a week after the surgery, clearly shows the presence of a piece of needle. Yet, the doctor told us that the X-ray was normal,” said Dr Prakash, the patient’s husband.

Soon after discharge, Dr Bora complained of severe pain and pricking feeling in her lower back. Dr Mihir Bapat, who had performed the surgery, told the couple that the pain was because the muscles were sore.

“On the December 9, when we collected the X-ray report, it mentioned the presence of the needle about 1 cm below the skin,” said Dr Prakash, a dermatologist. “The doctors told us that the needle would not cause any harm as it was in a superficial position. Then tried to remove the needle under local anesthesia but failed.”

The couple has alleged that the X-ray report wrongly mentioned the spinal region where the needle was lodged and the radiologist did not inform the doctors about the foreign object.

On December 10, Dr Bapat finally removed the broken needle in a surgery under general anesthesia at Ambani hospital. Dr Bora underwent a third surgery in April at another hospital to correct the compression of the spinal nerves. Dr Prakash claimed that Ambani hospital was unresponsive to his complaints and only after he wrote to Tina Ambani, chairperson of the hospital, did the management respond to him.

“This was not expected from the Ambani hospital. There was callousness at multiple levels. We want to ensure that such negligence is not repeated,” said Dr Prakash, who is seeking compensation of Rs5 lakh, the cost incurred on the additional surgeries, from the hospital. Dr Ram Narain, COO of Ambani hospital, said though the hospital’s response to the Boras’ complaint was “delayed” the couple had refused to have a meeting to sort out their grievances.

The Boras received a letter of clarification from the hospital only in March. “The needle breaking [during the surgery] was an unfortunate incident... As doctors we do encounter problems that we have no control on,” Dr Bapat stated in the four-page explanation.