Saturday, March 26, 2011

HC refuses to drop culpable homicide charge against doctor,Medicolegal

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court (HC) has refused to drop charge of culpable homicide against a gynaecologist in connection with a complaint regarding an operation conducted by him without pre-arrangement of blood which led to death of the patient.

As per the case details, Jayesh Patel, who is an MD and a consulting gynaecologist of New Lakshmi Hospital in Dholka, performed operation on a woman for her uterine problems in June 2008 after necessary pathological investigations. A mild pallor was noticed after operation and urgent hemoglobin was advised. As the haemoglobin level was found to be very low, blood transfusion was required urgently.

The doctor asked the patient’s relatives to bring blood bottles from a private blood bank in Ahmedabad. Meanwhile, haemacele injections were started. The hospital authority urgently called physician, surgeon and an anaesthetist and intubation and artificial ventilation were given after joint discussion. But when patient’s condition deteriorated, she was shifted to VS Hospital in ambulance with assisted ventilation and IV drip. Meanwhile, as blood bottles had come, blood transfusion was also started. However, on reaching VS Hospital, doctors declared the patient dead.

The woman’s husband, Jemubhai Makwana sent a notice to the doctor accusing him of negligence and demanded Rs 5 lakh towards compensation. A month later, Makwana filed a criminal complaint in JMFC court in Dholka and an FIR was lodged under section 304 of IPC accusing the doctor of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. A charge sheet came to be filed against him in September 2008. The doctor filed an application in the court urging to discharge him from the case, but a rural court in Mirzapur rejected his plea last year.

The doctor approached the high court demanding discharge on the ground that he had taken all precautions and at the most charges of negligence under Section 304A of IPC are maintainable in this case. Justice MD Shah, who heard the case observed that in refusing the dropping of charges, the trial court had relief upon the text book of gynaecology which states that in serious operations such as cases of cystocele and rectocele, where there are possibilities of haemorrhage, profuse bleeding and injuries to nearer organs of the body, normally, pre-arrangement of blood was required to be made.

It is an admitted fact that no pre-arrangement of blood was made by the doctor, although it was within his knowledge that he was carrying out the operation in Dholka area where there was no easy availability of blood even if urgent need for blood arises during the course of an operation.

After the high court refused to discharge the doctor from this case, he sought a stay on this order for six weeks so that he could move the Supreme Court, which was granted by the high court.

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