In what's allegedly a case of medical negligence, a 25-year-old youth from Kerala's Ernakulam district died late on Saturday night at a government medical college.
Jerin Michael, an engineering student, was admitted to the hospital in Ernakulam on Saturday morning, after he developed a stomach ache. Less than 16 hours later, Jerin breathed his last, allegedly after being denied proper care on time.
What his friends thought was a case of food poisoning, turned out to be a case of appendicitis and the hospital staff allegedly told Jerin's relatives that he must undergo a surgery.
After a doctor diagnosed his condition, the hospital staff reportedly told Jerin's relatives that the surgeon was on leave and that if they wanted the surgery to be conducted immediately, they'd have to pay for it. They were allegedly told that if the family was willing to wait for three days, the surgery would be conducted for free.
According to his relatives, Jerin was asked to get a few blood tests done from a lab outside the hospital, but despite being at the ward till afternoon, he was given medication only when a family member insisted.
By night, Jerin experienced seizures multiple times and was taken to the ICU, where he breathed his last. His relatives have alleged that it was the hospital's negligence that claimed the life of the 25-year-old.
Speaking to reporters, Jerin's friends said that when he developed seizures multiple times, the hospital staff wrapped the patient in a bedsheet and carried him to the ICU. This was after they were unable to take him to the ICU in the dysfunctional lift.
Speaking to TNM over phone, Medical College Principal Dr VK Sreekala denied negligence from the part of the hospital authorities. Jerin was diagnosed at the right time and was under observation, she said.
"It is not true that there were no doctors on duty. Two doctors had seen the patient and put him under observation. However, at night, he developed seizure due to unknown cause. Even we are perplexed as to what happened," Dr Sreekala said.
Claiming that she was "out of town" when the incident occurred, the principal said that the hospital had followed all necessary procedures.
"The Director of Medical Education (DME) has ordered for a detailed probe and we are co-operating with it. Two doctors who were on duty that day have been asked to go on leave," she added.
Based on a complaint given by Jerin's maternal uncle, the Edathala police have registered a case of unnatural death. Aluva Circle Inspector told TNM that the cause of death has not been ascertained yet.
"The body was sent to Alappuzha medical college for post-mortem and we are awaiting the report in a couple of days. Post that, we will take necessary action against the hospital if it is proved that negligence is what claimed Jerin's life," the inspector said.
On Monday, the case will be transferred to the Kalamassery police station as the hospital falls under the Kalamassery police station limits.