The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teenage cricketer dies after five operations in five months

Calcutta, June 2: Rajnis Patel could have been many things besides a six-foot, two-inch tall pace bowler representing his state and country.

His parents had a lot of hope in their only son, who was shaping well on the field. But all this was cut short early this morning when the 17-year-old lay lifeless on his hospital bed, a victim of first an accident while playing cricket and then of alleged maltreatment and neglect.

On February 6, Rajnis broke his left shinbone after colliding with another fielder at Vivekananda Park, south Calcutta. Team-mates rushed him to SSKM Hospital, where doctors detected a compound fracture. Since then till last night, the teenager went through as many as five operations.

In a complaint registered with the hospital and police, his parents have alleged “maltreatment”.

Rajnis died of “post-operative haemorrhage shock” and infection that spread from his wound which did not heal over four months and bled till the last. His parents and friends say this was the result of negligence by doctors. In a last-ditch effort, he was rushed to the surgery table yesterday evening, though his “regular” surgeon was not available. Father Manoj was compelled to sign a document mid-surgery, apparently seeking his consent.

“But why did my boy’s injury have to become so serious' Why could not doctors and the medical team at the best state government hospital not save, let alone cure, him'”

In their complaint, the Patels have said that orthopaedic surgeon Dilip Majumdar, who was in charge of Rajnis, did not come even once to see him, despite being sent several messages on Sunday. “Yes, it is true that the doctor did not come to the hospital yesterday, but I cannot elaborate on this at the moment,” said hospital superintendent Debdwaipayan Chattopadhyay.

Majumdar said he was on sick leave and no one from the hospital got in touch.

The boy’s father said: “On February 7, he was admitted to the orthopaedic ward of the hospital under Majumdar’s care. On February 19, they finally decided to operate on him.”

After the surgery, doctors told family members that a steel plate had been inserted to hold the bone together and that Rajnis should recover quickly.

“But his condition started deteriorating. Majumdar said investigations showed the plate was slightly small and this needed immediate rectification. They, however, took him to the OT 12 days later,” said mother Munni. Two weeks after that, doctors said Rajnis had developed “a slight infection”. He had high fever and convulsions. Majumdar conducted two more surgeries to drain the pus and place rods in his shin and clamp it with a ring.

A three-member board has been constituted to look into allegations of negligence.

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