On Tuesday, the family of Sobrajjeet Singh, 21, got hope at last of justice. For three months, the district administration and police had tried everything to protect the accused doctor and sewerage board officials in a case of negligence leading to death.
Sobrajjeet, who crashed into an unattended sewage-cleaning machine and died in hospital after the surgeon had left a glove in his body, was the only son of his parents. The autopsy team had recovered the glove from the section operated upon. On Tuesday, the police had registered the case under Section 304-A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Barnala against Dr Harish Matta, surgeon at Dayanand Medical College (DMC) in Ludhiana.
"The family was offered Rs 5 lakh as compensation and brought under intense political and bureaucratic pressure to withdraw the complaint against the doctor and civic-body officials," the victim's father, Sohan Singh, senior medical laboratory technician in a Barnala hospital, said here on Wednesday. “Compensation will not heal our wounds."
On January 28, from the Barnala Civil Hospital, the young man was referred to the DMC, Ludhiana, where he died on February 6. The autopsy team found a piece of medicinal glove in one of the two iatrogenic injuries (related to medical procedures), and submitted that the injuries caused during medical procedures to stop internal bleeding might also have killed Sobrajjeet.
"At one point of time, they authorities said our protest was useless, when the district attorney had given a clean chit to the doctor," said Sohan Singh. "It was in spite of the mention of severe negligence in the autopsy report. The thought of bringing justice to my son and the support of family, friends and local people kept me in the fight.” He thanked members of the citizens' action committee formed over the issue.
Narayan Dutt, convener of the action committee, said as long as the doctor and sewerage board officials were not punished, it would not be justice.
The police had registered a case against unidentified officials in the sewerage board and made no arrest.