They killed our boy: Father of six-year-old who died of anaesthetic overdose in Bengaluru

Santosh’s parents allege that doctors did not let them see their son hours after the surgery.
They killed our boy: Father of six-year-old who died of anaesthetic overdose in Bengaluru
They killed our boy: Father of six-year-old who died of anaesthetic overdose in Bengaluru
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The wave of relief that washed over them turned to anxiety and finally grief on Friday. Six-year-old D Santosh’s family rushed their only son in a comatose state to St John’s Hospital in Bengaluru, where they declared him “brought dead”.  

Following a post-mortem on Saturday, the family of the little boy was informed that he had passed away due to an anaesthetic overdose.

Routine surgery that went horribly wrong

Two months ago, little Santosh had developed a lump inside his nose. His parents, D Nithyananda and M Maheshwari had taken Santosh to Annayya Health Care in HSR Layout for treatment. But when the lump did not go away with the prescribed tablets, they approached the doctors again, who advised the family members that Santosh needed to undergo a surgery.

It was to be a routine operation, one that would remove the lump that had been causing Santosh breathing problems.

“On Wednesday, the doctors had told us that our boy was supposed to undergo a surgery immediately. Since we did not have the money, we had asked the doctor if it would be okay to perform the surgery after a week. He had initially said yes,” narrated Santosh’s grandfather, Venugopal.

However, on Thursday morning, Nithyananda received a call from the hospital, and was informed that Santosh had to undergo the surgery the very next day.

“We obtained a loan from three different people and managed to gather Rs 40,000 required for the surgery. The doctor had told us to bring our boy to the hospital at 9 am on Friday. We went there on time but the doctor, Dhanraj, who was supposed to perform the surgery showed up only at 11.30 am. At 12.00 pm, they took Santosh into the operation theatre,” recalled Lavakumar, Santosh’s uncle.

Kept in the dark

Four-and-half hours later, his family was informed that the operation was a ‘success’ and that Santosh would be shifted to the ward at 5:30pm. But as the minutes ticked away, the initial relief that had washed over them dissipated, as his family continued to wait for news of their boy.  Alarm bells began ringing in their head when even after 6pm, the doctors did not let them see Santosh.

Scared and suspicious that the doctors were deliberately keeping them in the dark, the family immediately called the HSR Layout Police.

“The police came to the hospital and after they questioned the doctors, they found that he was not waking up and his condition was extremely serious. The doctors told us that his pulse was very weak. I was calling out to my son and trying to wake him up but he was unconscious. There was no stretcher or even a lift for us to take our boy. I carried him down and in a few minutes, the police called an ambulance and we were on our way,” said Santosh’s father, Nithyananda.

Owing to peak-hour traffic at 8.30pm, the police and Santosh’s family decided to take the boy to St John’s Hospital on Sarjapur Road instead. When they arrived at the hospital, a frightened Nithyananda explained the series of events to the doctors there.

It was then that the doctors informed Nithyananda that his only son had already passed away.

“They killed our boy. They just murdered him. We should have realised that something was wrong sooner. Especially when they did not let us see our son after the surgery. Maybe if I had realised it sooner, we could have taken him a little sooner to another hospital and be he would still be alive,” an inconsolable Nithyananda cried.

The devastated father said, “He was the only child in our family. My wife Maheshwari and I tried to conceive a child for six years after we got married. When we got the news that she was going to have a baby, everyone in our family was ecstatic. He was such a lovely boy. He loved going to school and was always drawing pictures. My house is filled with pictures he’s drawn. Now that’s all I have left of him. He was such a bright child. We are going to miss him forever.”

The HSR Layout police arrested Dr Dhanraj, the anaesthetist and two others on Monday morning and have booked them for medical negligence after informing the Medical Council of India.

But Friday’s tragic death was not the first such case of medical negligence at Annayya Health Care.  On February 6, 2013, a three-year-old boy, Sirish, died after an overdose of anaesthesia.

The little boy had complained of a toothache and in this case as well, the family members were informed of the child’s death, hours after they created a ruckus in the hospital and demanded to see their son.

Despite several attempts to call the hospital officials, we were unable to reach them. We will update the story as soon as we contact them.

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