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Patients’ kin protest deaths at RIMS

Imphal, Jan. 20: Relatives and neighbours of three women patients who died in childbirth at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal, recently, took out a procession today demanding resignation of the institute’s director, S. Sekharjit.

The rally was taken out near the institute at Lamphal here under the banner of Co-ordination Committee of Joint Action Committees on Un-natural Deaths in RIMS.

Three patients, all from Imphal West, died at the institute between September 13 and December 14. Two of them died after childbirth while the third died along with the unborn child before delivery.

Aheibam Bijeta, 25, died after she was given anaesthesia for a Caesarean operation on September 13. The uproar over the death was yet to subside when another patient, K. Devjani, 33, died after delivery on November 20.

The third patient, Irengbam Sandhyarani, 25, also died after delivery on December 14.

Alleging negligence by the doctors and nurses, the residents of the localities where the patients were from, formed joint action committees to take up the matter with the RIMS authorities.

The RIMS authorities had promised the relatives action after holding inquiries into the cases. “So far no action has been taken. The director has failed as an administrator. Therefore, he should resign on moral grounds,” Mayengbam Dorendro Singh, the convener of the co-ordination committees, said.

Today’smarch marked the beginning of a “series of agitation” by the co-ordination committees demanding punishment for the doctors and nurses responsible for the deaths.

After the 500-metre march near the hospital, police stopped the protesters, numbering about 100, in front of the main gate of the hospital.

The police, however, allowed five representatives of the protesters, including two women, to meet the director.

During the meeting, the director assured the committees’ delegation of “appropriate actions” by the institute.

“It was pointed out that appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken against those doctors whenever there are any evidence of criminal negligence,” a statement issued by the institute said.

The director also informed the delegation that an internal inquiry was on. The RIMS authorities appreciated the suggestions made by the committees for improvement of health-care services at the institute. The director told the delegation that measures were being taken by the institute to improve health-care services at the institute’s hospital. He said installation of CCTV and biometric attendance system was in progress.

“As regards private practice (by doctors), it was informed that appropriate action had been taken in some cases and some others warned in person,” the statement said.

Dorendro Singh said the committees would continue to protest if the RIMS director failed to fulfil their promises.