Prem Kumar after arrest in Hazaribagh on Wednesday. (Vishvendu Jaipuriar)
Hazaribagh, Jan. 4: Fake surgeon Prem Kumar of Hazaribagh, who evaded arrest for a month after his pregnant patient bled to death on December 5, 2016, was arrested last night near his so-called nursing home and forwarded to Hazaribagh central jail today.
Kumar, who had a thriving practice at his unnamed nursing home in crowded Raja Bangla Road, has claimed at least three lives due to faulty treatment, the latest of which was a young woman named Shanti Devi.
The pregnant wife of a farmer in Nawadih had come to him for a check-up, underscoring the paucity of genuine medical care in the constituency of Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha. Prem Kumar performed a surgery on Shanti that damaged her uterus and small intestine. She was rushed to RIMS, Ranchi, where she died.
The fake doctor, who went underground immediately after the death, was arrested last night on a tip-off when he was on his way to his nursing home.
"He was arrested near Chhath Talab when going to his nursing home on Raja Bangla Road around 10.45pm last night. He admitted he used to sneak inside his nursing home to sleep here whenever he could after police started looking for him. He used to escape before daybreak," Lohsigna OC Ramesh Singh said.
An arrested Kumar kept insisting at first that he had a genuine MBBS degree from Goa. " Main doctor hoon aur maine Goa se MBBS kiya hai," he said at Lohsigna outpost. Pressed for details such as medical school and year of passing, he kept quiet.
Kumar also kept quiet when asked how he performed a surgery which damaged internal organs of Shanti Devi and how he managed to be an expert in so many branches of medicine, from orthopaedics to obstetrics and gynaecology.
He only tried to protect his wife Rekha, who allegedly was active in his nursing home. He maintained she had nothing to do with his work and she was a homemaker. Currently, Rekha is traceless.
Kumar shot to infamy in 2013 when his surgery had fatally damaged the uterus of one Malo Devi of Daru village, after which in 2014 a team of doctors at Sadar Hospital declared his MBBS degree as fake. Still, in 2015 he managed to plaster the broken right hand of another woman, Kaushalya Devi of Rachanga village, so tightly that it developed gangrene and had to be amputated. Kaushalya Devi died in August 2016 of related infections.
FIRs against Kumar were lodged in both cases but as the victims were poor, follow-ups were not strong enough and Kumar managed to wiggle his way back both times. But, after Shanti died, media attention prodded the district administration to constitute a three-member medical board of doctors to perform an autopsy on the victim.
Another two-member probe committee is inspecting nursing homes in Hazaribagh to check if they are licensed and have the manpower and infrastructure under norms. The team will submit its report to DC Ravi Shankar Shukla shortly.
"Though Kumar managed to avoid arrest in the two cases earlier, I can only say that now, the action against Kumar will definitely send the message that none can get away with such wrongdoings," DC Shukla said.