The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Girl’s relatives blame clinic for drug overdose

Even as the Rajnis Patel case files are doing the rounds of the police top brass tables, the family of a 13-year-old girl is locking horns with a city nursing home where she is admitted. The family has accused doctors of being “negligent” after drugs administered on the girl caused a dreaded drug-induced infection called Steven Johnson’s Syndrome (SJS).

The nursing home authorities have asked the child’s parents to take her home, claiming she was better. But the family has refused to do so and has filed a police complaint against them.

When Sumana Mondol, a resident of Thakurpukur, developed high fever on May 15, she was taken to local physician D. Sinha Roy who diagnosed her with viral fever and prescribed medicines. But Sumana’s condition deteriorated and three days later, she started having convulsions.

On May 18, she was admitted to Bangur Medicare Research Institute (BMRI), in Thakurpukur. There, doctors put her on anti-epileptic drugs. On May 21, the nursing home released the girl with instructions to continue with the medicines. Soon after, Sumana broke into blisters and rashes. “We contacted Sinha Roy who said the rashes were just a reaction to the antibiotics,” said Sumana’s father, Shyamal.

By June 2, the girl was covered with blisters. She also had a red eye, muscular pain and high fever with frequent convulsions. She was re-admitted to BMRI. This time, doctors declared she was suffering from SJS — a reaction to over-administration of drugs that a patient is allergic to. The girl was then shifted to the intensive care unit.

Sumana’s relatives blame BMRI for failing to anticipate the drug reactions. “The doctors now admit that the drugs could have had an adverse effect on the girl,” said uncle Pronab Banerjee. The family lodged a complaint with the Thakurpukur police station against the nursing home, alleging wrong treatment.

Under pressure, the nursing home authorities formed a medical board and changed the drugs. “The local physician should have understood the problem since SJS, although rare, can happen. There was no negligence on BMRI’s part and Sumana is fine now,” said Debasish Mukherjee, member of the board. For the past few days, they have been pressuring the family to take Sumana home. Sinha Roy, too, says he has agreed to bear half of the cost of Sumana’s treatment. But the family wants an admission of the nursing home’s failure in writing first.

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