Bengal teen sent in ambulance with mechanic posing as doctor dies; nursing home owner, manager held
Annapurna Nursing Home, which was treating Arijit Das (16), had sent him to Kolkata for further treatment, along with Sheikh Sarfajuddin (25), an AC mechanic posing as a doctor.india Updated: Mar 18, 2018 15:37 IST
Police have arrested the owner and manager of the nursing home in West Bengal’s Burdwan after a fever-affected boy it sent to Kolkata died as he was accompanied by a “fake” doctor.
Annapurna Nursing Home, which was treating Arijit Das (16), had sent him to Kolkata for further treatment, along with Sheikh Sarfajuddin (25), an AC mechanic posing as a doctor.
Sarfajuddin and the ambulance driver, Tarapada Sha (26) were arrested on Friday and charged with impersonation, cheating and causing death due to negligence.
On Saturday night, the nursing home’s owner Animesh Mallick and manager Sheikh Rahul Islam were arrested after interrogation.
Police are also looking for a person named Viki, a middleman who arranges ambulances.
The victim was to appear for the class 10 Bengal board exams that began on March 11. His death could have been averted if there was a real doctor, relatives said.
Fake doctors have become a menace in Bengal, with the state’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) finding more than 500 fake doctors. They have never attended any medical course but treat patients posing as specialists.
The government has launched an exercise to weed them out. The CID has arrested a few dozen such fake physicians.
The Fateful Trip
The ambulance took the boy from Burdwan to Rabindranath Tagore International Institute for Cardiac Sciences, a hospital on Kolkata’s E M Bypass, a distance of more than 100 km.
“I can’t understand why the nursing home of Burdwan passed off an AC mechanic as a doctor. I have lost my only son and want the culprits to be punished,” Arijit’s father, Ranjit Das said.
Family members told the media that they became suspicious when they saw the driver, and not the ‘doctor’, trying to fix the oxygen cylinder on the way.
“We will investigate whether the nursing home was at fault. If they were guilty, steps will be taken against them,” said Pranab Roy, the chief medical officer of Health in East Burdwan district.
Ironically, the boy aspired to become a doctor. He was not keeping well and wrote the first three tests with fever.
“He had written three tests with fever. But his condition deteriorated on Wednesday and we took him to Rampurhat hospital. Then he was taken to a nursing home in Burdwan. When his condition worsened, we wanted to take Arijit to Kolkata and the nursing home arranged the ambulance. Why did they tell us that the person in the ambulance is a doctor when he was actually an AC mechanic?” asked Dibyendu Mandal, Arijit’s uncle.
According to Das’s relatives, the ambulance charged them Rs 16,000, half of which was the doctor’s fees.
“If there was a doctor, he could have provided oxygen to the boy,” said Mandal.
There was shock in the area when the news of the death spread.
Mihir Banerjee, president of the managing committee of Bhabanandapur High School, where Arijit studied, said he was a brilliant student.
“We were sure that he would secure a position in the top ten. We can’t believe that a bright boy would meet his end this way,” he said.
According to the family, after Arijit was declared dead, Sarfajuddin tried to escape. But he was confronted by family members and caught.