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Boy goes to remove finger, docs fix hernia

A four-year-old boy was on Tuesday mistakenly operated upon for congenital hernia at the Ambedkar Hospital in Delhi, reports Vidya Krishnan.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2006 15:31 IST
Vidya Krishnan
Vidya Krishnan

A four-year-old boy was on Tuesday mistakenly operated upon for congenital hernia at the Ambedkar Hospital in Delhi.

He had actually gone to the hospital for another surgical procedure — to remove an extra finger in his right hand.

Kapil Brijpal's parents alleged that their child was mistakenly taken to the wrong operation theatre — where a six-year-old was supposed to undergo a congenital hernia surgery.

Manish Agarwal, the deputy commissioner of police (northwest), said Kapil's parents have lodged a complaint with the police.

"Matters of medical negligence are referred to a medical board constituted by the Delhi government. Depending on what the board's findings are, we will decide whether a case has to be registered or not," he said.

Delhi health secretary DS Negi said, "This seems like a case of gross negligence. If the allegations are true, we will take strict action."

Kapil was admitted to Ambedkar Hospital on Monday night for Polydactyly — the
procedure for removal of extra fingers.

Kapil's father Brijpal, who works as a milkman, told the Hindustan Times that the doctors — as is the standard practice — had taken his written consent for the operation in advance.

"We were shocked when a doctor, midway through the operation, told me to sign another consent form. They told me that Kapil had hernia and they would operate on him right away," said Brijpal. "I was surprised because my son never had any swelling in his abdomen. He had never complained of any abdominal pain. I could not have argued with the doctor as the operation was underway. But later when I spoke to other doctors, I realised something had gone wrong."

He said the doctors had not conducted any tests on Kapil to determine if he had hernia.

The hospital administration, however, said the child was diagnosed with hernia on Monday afternoon, although Kapil's case sheet states that he was admitted only at 8.30 pm on Monday.

Deputy Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr Amreshwar Narayan said since Kapil was already in the hospital and had been administered anaesthesia, the doctors decided to operate upon him for hernia as well. "A senior resident in the department of surgery diagnosed hernia and we treated both the problems at one go," heclaimed.

However, a hospital doctor on condition of anonymity said: "The surgery and orthopaedic operation theatres (OT) are next to each other. Our para-medical staff made a mistake and took Kapil to the surgery OT. When the doctors realised the mistake, they quickly took another consent from the patient's father, who being illiterate, did not protest."

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First Published: Dec 13, 2006 02:55 IST