Priya death case: TN govt docs association opposes action against accused doctors

The Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association has resolved to stage protests across the state if the government does not alter the charges (causing death by negligence) against the doctors.
Chennai footballer Priya
Chennai footballer Priya
Written by:

The Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association (TNGDA) on Saturday, November 19, demanded that the government revoke its action against the two doctors asked to surrender in connection with the case of footballer Priya’s death. In a statement issued on Saturday, TNGDA president Dr K Senthil asked the government to rethink the charges that the doctors were booked under – section 304A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code. TNGDA also demanded that the media not disclose the identity of the doctors. The association’s statement came a day after the Madras High Court denied anticipatory bail to the two doctors of Government Peripheral Hospital, Periyar Nagar – Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics Paul Ramsankar and Casualty Medical Officer Somasundhar — who were suspended after a series of botched surgeries that allegedly led to Priya’s death.

Earlier this week, 18-year-old Priya passed away at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) from multiple organ failure, due to alleged medical negligence. Before she was admitted to RGGGH, she went under surgery for ligament tears in her right knee at Government Peripheral Hospital, Periyar Nagar. Within a week, her leg was amputated, and she passed away on November 15 after a second follow-up surgery.

According to the TNGDA statement, the association has passed a resolution to stage protests across the state if the government does not alter the IPC section against the doctors. TNGDA called the police action against the doctors ‘extreme’. While offering condolences to Priya’s family members, the association said the police needed to get an opinion from the seniormost doctor in the field, as per Supreme Court guidelines. 

“The police should seek the opinion of the seniormost specialist while investigating the death related to medical negligence. The police can register cases against the medical officers under 304A if the doctor says there was criminal negligence during the treatment,” the statement said. It also said that the expert committee of the state health department found civil negligence in the case, and not criminal negligence. 

The expert committee was constituted on November 10 by the state Health and Family Welfare Departmente, after the footballer underwent surgery to repair torn ligaments in her right knee. After the initially surgery, due to complications, her leg had to be amputated. The expert committee’s report, submitted on November 17, held the operating surgeon, the theatre anesthetist, the duty medical officer, the duty CMO (orthopaedic surgeon), and the post-operative ward staff responsible for her death. Cases were registered against them under section 304A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code at Kolathur police station.

The TNGDA statement further said that the High Court didn't follow the apex court's guidelines while denying anticipatory bail and asking the doctors to surrender to the police. The Madras High Court's decision on this matter disappoints doctors across the country, it said. 

TNGDA requested Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin to take disciplinary action against the doctors that are suggested for civil negligence. It said that the doctors performed the surgery successfully, and Priya’s death occurred due to post-operation medical negligence which should be considered as civil negligence. TNGDA aslo requested the Tamil Nadu Government Nurses Association and functionaries in the Indian Medical Association to support their resolution. 

The initial surgery was performed at the Periyar Nagar hospital on November 7, and the same evening, Priya started complaining of pain in her legs. The doctors prescribed a tight compression bandage and medicines for the pain. The very next morning, she was shifted to RGGGH due to a suspected blood clot in her leg. RGGGH doctors then ran a set of tests, and informed Priya’s family that the tissues in her right leg were dead. They told them that only an amputation could save her life.  

Priya’s leg was removed on November 9. However, as her condition did not improve, she had to undergo a second follow-up surgery at RGGGH on Monday, November 14. However, she died a day later on November 15. 

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute