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Surgeon punished in death of boy

Calcutta, June 4: The government today suspended orthopaedic surgeon Dilip Majumdar after an inquiry committee found him responsible for the string of botched operations in five months that led to the tragic death on Monday of teenage cricketer Rajnis Patel at the state-run SSKM Hospital.

“Opinion may differ on a doctor’s efficiency but negligence in discharging one’s duty will not be tolerated by the government under any circumstances,” the state director of medical education, Chittaranjan Maiti, said.

He, however, added that the probe was not yet complete and compensation to Rajnis’ family was one of the issues that would be sorted out later.

The preliminary report submitted by a committee headed by hospital superintendent Debdwaipayan Chattopadhyay today found Majumdar prima facie guilty of “delinquency of service”, Maiti said.

Besides examining the doctors and postgraduate trainees of the department of orthopaedics, the committee spent over 150 minutes with Majumdar during the day.

Rajnis was admitted to SSKM with something as simple as a broken shinbone in February. He was kept waiting for 10 days before he was first operated on. Four more surgical interventions followed as Rajnis virtually became a guinea pig for postgraduate trainees.

The first operation itself was conducted by two postgraduate trainees — S. Bardhan and D. Mandal — though two senior surgeons (Majumdar and Michael Hira) were shown to be his doctors in official documents, the preliminary probe found.

That first operation set Rajnis on the way to his untimely death as doctors found out after a few X-rays that the metal plate inserted in his leg was shorter than required. The bone, consequently, was not aligned properly and it was this defect that necessitated another surgery.

The second surgery, too, was not done by either Majumdar or his senior aide (Hira). Rajnis was laid on the operation table for the second time on March 3 and came off it with an infection from which he did not recover till the end. The senior doctors finally deigned to operate on Rajnis’ leg at the fourth attempt but, apparently, it was too late.

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