B'luru hospital under lens after man claims medical negligence led to his baby's death

He also claimed that a mistake by the doctor in his report resulted in him not getting the insurance money, and when he couldn’t pay, he was threatened.
B'luru hospital under lens after man claims medical negligence led to his baby's death
B'luru hospital under lens after man claims medical negligence led to his baby's death

When Sunil Kumar approached the police in October 2017, alleging that one of his twin daughters aged just 16 months had died due to medical negligence, the police declined to file a complaint. He took the case to court, and now, thanks to its intervention, a case has been filed by the Sadashiv Nagar police station against doctors in the MS Ramaiah Hospital in Bengaluru for medical negligence.

The Karnataka Medical Council (KMC) has issued a show-cause notice to Dr Somashekar AR and Dr Karunakara BP, both of them paediatricians at MS Ramaiah Medical College and Hospital in Bengaluru.

“In October, my younger daughter, Vanshika, developed a cough and fever for which we consulted Dr Somashekar at his clinic. But when the fever did not subside, he asked us to bring her to Ramaiah Hospital and get her admitted there. On the way to the hospital, my other daughter, Vedika, vomited once. When we reached the hospital, it took a few hours before a nurse came and saw my daughter Vanshika. I told her that Vedika had vomited, when she asked. Then she asked if I had medical insurance and then admitted them both to ICU when I said I did, telling me that Dr Somashekar had instructed her to do so. After 6 days, Vanshika was discharged, but Vedika remained in the ICU. No doctors had examined them, but they were admitted to the ICU,” Sunil Kumar told to TNM.

According to Dr Somashekar, however, the twins appeared ‘severely dehydrated’.

“When the babies were brought to the hospital, we noticed that they were severely dehydrated. In babies, this calls for an ICU admission. In spite of giving treatment for dehydration, there was no improvement in the younger baby (Vedika), which led us to suspect that she might be having an inborn error of metabolism (IEM), especially given the previous history of both the babies,” he said.

IEM refers to a spectrum of disorders, in which the baby will have some growth delays and will be a bit lethargic, often times there may be some issues in how the child’s body digests and processes food.

According to doctors at Ramaiah, when the babies were six months old, they were taken to a paediatric neurologist in view of the developmental delays seen in both, and appropriate measures were taken for the same.

But Sunil Kumar has refuted this and stated that neither of his daughters had any issues until they were taken to the hospital in October 2017.

Six days after they were admitted to the hospital, Vanshika’s condition improved, but Vedika remained in the ICU.

“During this time, the insurance company said they would not pay for the treatment because the doctors had written ‘delay in development’ in the medical chart. On inquiring about the same with Dr Somashekar, he said it was written by mistake and gave me another letter, but the insurance company began to doubt the hospital and refused to pay the bill,” said Sunil Kumar.

Following this, he was purportedly approached by hospital staff, who said that he had to pay Rs 40,000 before Vanshika could be discharged.

“I told the hospital staff that the insurance was meant for emergency situations and because of their mistake, I was in a fix. The next day, Dr Somashekar called me and said, ‘I am trying to save your daughters, and you are doing all these things and embarrassing me at my workplace.’ Then Dr Karunakar came and said that they would not treat my daughters if I did not pay the bill. I then paid Rs 42,000 for my younger daughter after which she was discharged,” he said.

To this, Dr Somashekar said, “The insurance company denied paying us for their own reasons. They have to give the explanation for that. From our side, we counselled the parents and explained the condition of the baby every day. We have no say on the policies of insurance companies or their guidelines.”

He added that the treatment was not stopped at any time.

But 24 days after being admitted to the ICU, Vedika died. Doctors stated that she succumbed to complications of an inborn error of metabolism.

Her father alleges that doctors did not explain anything to him regarding his daughter’s condition or treatment. “I told the doctors my daughter was fine and she just vomited on the way to the hospital. But he told me she was serious, and didn’t say anything about her condition. A week after she was admitted, I told them I wanted a second opinion. He told me that if I took my baby out of the ICU for even one second, he could not guarantee she would live.”

He added, “One day they said Vedika was dehydrated, then they said it was gastritis…Every day, it was something else, but they never explained to me exactly what was happening. Finally they, told me that her condition was very serious and then on November 1, they said she was improving and would soon be shifted to the ward.”

Dr Somashekar claims he updated the parents regularly and informed them about the baby's deteriorating condition too.

Sunil Kumar approached 8 other paediatricians after Vedika’s death. “Two senior doctors told me there were major discrepancies in the reports and that there could have been major negligence. They told me that the doctors had not conducted proper tests to even diagnose her with an inborn error. I approached the Medical Board and when I went there the doctors produced a report which was completely different from the one I had,” he stated.

When he approached the Medical Board, he was allegedly told, “You are lucky. You have twins. At least you have one baby. It’s okay. You should let it go and be happy that both did not die."

He also claimed that the Sadashiv Nagar police were intimidated by the doctors when he initially went to file the complaint in October and refused to register it. “I know I can fight this till my last breath; I am prepared to do so for my daughter. I am not so stupid as to accuse someone without proof,” he said.

The case is set to appear before court in September.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute