The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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SSKM trainees shirked Rajnis duty

After finding senior orthopaedic surgeon Dilip Majumdar guilty of “neglecting duties” in the Rajnis Patel death case, the three-member probe team is likely to indict the post-graduate trainees for a similar charge.

Rajnis died last Monday from infection and extensive blood loss at SSKM Hospital after he was admitted on February 7 with a broken shin bone.

The internal probe team, comprising head of the surgery department P.K. Gupta, head of the orthopaedic department N.D. Chatterjee and deputy superintendent Tushar Ghosh, spent Saturday questioning witnesses and examining documents related to the treatment of Rajnis. Investigators have so far identified eight members of the orthopaedic ward involved in his treatment.

During the course of investigation, the probe team found that post-graduate trainees, who operated upon Rajnis four times, did not regularly consult senior orthopaedic surgeons, although the first few surgeries had failed. They also did not register calls to senior orthopaedic surgeon Dilip Majumdar during the last surgery, despite being aware of the gravity of the case.

The post-graduate trainees have also been found guilty of “neglecting their duties” like keeping records of the surgeries and the progress or deterioration of Rajnis’ health in daily registers — all part of their training procedure during post-graduation. Another senior surgeon, Michael Hira, who operated upon Rajnis along with Majumdar once during the five failed surgeries, could not be found guilty because he had agreed to help Majumdar on request. “Rajnis was not even in Hira’s unit. So, he cannot be held responsible,” an official said.

While none of the post-graduate trainees was willing to speak on the subject fearing “departmental action”, head of the orthopaedic department N.D. Chatterjee, who is part of the probe team, said on Saturday: “We are examining the details of the case. Every individual’s (doctor’s) role involved in the treatment is being examined and the report which we will send to director of medical education C.R. Maity specifies everyone’s role separately in the entire treatment process.” A heavy penalty may even bar the post-graduate trainees from taking their examinations.

Maity is learnt to have been particularly displeased with more and more evidence surfacing about doctors neglecting their duties while treating Rajnis at the hospital. “This is not a question of wrong treatment but dereliction of duties. The post-graduate trainees cannot shrug off their responsibility just because they are undergoing training,” Maity said on Saturday, when contacted at his Burdwan residence.

Maity further said that in case the final report was “not comprehensive” he would order a second probe. “If required we will initiate a high-level inquiry into the matter again,” he said.

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