A case of criminal medical negligence was filed against Tata Main Hospital (TMH) on Wednesday in connection with the death of a young Timken India executive three years ago.
The court of first-class judicial magistrate S.N. Lamay admitted the case under Section 156(3) of CrPC and directed registration and investigation by Bistupur police under Section 304A IPC (causing death by medical negligence). If proven guilty, the prime accused — a doctor posted on emergency duty on the fateful day — may be jailed for 10 years.
City SP Karthik S. confirmed having received the case for supervision from the CJM court. “The Bistupur OC is on leave. I have asked DSP (crime control room) Jacintha Kerketta (under whose jurisdiction the police station comes) to record the statement of the complainant. The matter is under investigation and a report will be submitted in the court,” he said.
Tata Steel head of corporate communications Ashish Kumar refused to comment, stating that the matter was sub judice.
On May 20, 2011, Dr Atul Chhabra of TMH had allegedly misdiagnosed an ECG and prescribed gastritis pills to Timken’s assistant manager (finance) Vishal Chand when the 33-year-old had rushed to the emergency unit with chest pain. The young executive died of a heart attack the next morning.
In his petition, the victim’s brother and Delhi-based MNC executive Shishir Chand reiterated that though Vishal had reached TMH with chest pain and uneasiness, the doctor (Chhabra) documented only the latter on the medical history sheet and also administered through injection a painkiller.
According to Shishir, his brother’s blood pressure was elevated (150/100) at the time of ECG and this vital sign too was ignored as was their family history of heart problems. Their father had died of a cardiac arrest at the age of 44.
The petition stated that supportive treatment administered to the deceased was not in accordance with medical protocol. “The ECG showed serious aberrations, but the doctor misdiagnosed the ailment as hyperacidity and told the deceased to return home with the wrong medicine related to gastric problem,” it said.
The complainant has attached three affidavits — one from Kerala cardiologist Dr Ravi Kumar Bhaskaran, another from Cuttack general physician Dr Deepak Ranjan Das and a third from R.K. Sharma, the former HoD of forensic medicine and toxicology at AIIMS, New Delhi — that underscore that the accused had wrongly interpreted the ECG.
A case against Dr Chhabra and TMH is sub judice at National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), New Delhi, since April 2013.
Last week, the NCDRC court of Justice Ajit Bharihoke served a fourth and final notice to TMH and the accused doctor, seeking counter-affidavits, failing which it said it would deliver its verdict even in the absence of arguments. While three dates have lapsed since January, the new deadline is July 11.
Speaking to The Telegraph on Wednesday, Shishir said he would see the case till its end. “This is a fight for justice. I am the only surviving male member of my family. My mother is suffering from depression and mental shock after the death of my brothers and father,” he added.
While their father had died in 1991, Shishir and Vishal had lost their elder brother Priyank Chand to a car crash in 2009.