Maha: Plastic Surgeon arrested under IPC 304 after 87 deaths recorded at his COVID Center
Mumbai: A 36-year-old plastic surgeon was recently arrested on charges under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and his private COVID care center was sealed after it was found that 87 patients died at his facility allegedly owing to lack of doctors, equipment and other facilities needed to treat Covid-19 patients.A magistrate court on Saturday remanded the accused...
Mumbai: A 36-year-old plastic surgeon was recently arrested on charges under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and his private COVID care center was sealed after it was found that 87 patients died at his facility allegedly owing to lack of doctors, equipment and other facilities needed to treat Covid-19 patients.
A magistrate court on Saturday remanded the accused to police custody for seven days.
The doctor who holds MBBS, MS and MCH degrees in the speciality of Plastic Surgery was granted permission by the local municipal commissioner to treat Covid patients three months ago during the second wave of the pandemic in Miraj city of Sangli, Maharashtra.
However, several lacunae were found at the facility by a team of doctors, including the civic body's chief medical officer, Dr Sunil Ambole, Head of SKMC health department, and Dean of Miraj Government Medical College, who visited the hospital to verify series of complaints moved with the Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad Municipal Corporation (SMKC) after the hospital single-handedly recorded 87 deaths in 43 days.
As per Ambole, the hospital refused to submit their bills for an audit even after receiving instructions to do so which all the more called for an inspection.
Ambole also identified gross violation of the guidelines laid down by the Directorate of Medical Education and the Directorate of Health services at the hospital after which SMKC registered a case with the local police on May 27.
While the administration found that there was either shortage of ventilators at the hospital or there were no ventilators at all, most of the doctors at the centre too were not qualified to treat Covid-19 patients, reports TOI.
On May 29, the police initiated a thorough investigation and all the doctors, nursing staff, and kin of those patients who passed away while receiving treatment in the facility were questioned by the cops.
As per reports, tt was found that despite appointing specialists like MD anaesthesia, MD medicine, MD Pulmonology, the patients were treated by homeopathy practitioners who were supposed to give opinions virtually and not in person.
"Police have sealed the hospital, arrested its owner and the recognition of the hospital has been withdrawn with immediate effect," Sangli-Kupwad civic chief Nitin Kapadnis stated.
Kapadnis told HT, "A lot of patients started complaining that they did not have equipment even though the patients were told before admission that ventilators are available. There were complaints about inflated bills without explanation. The municipal corporation has sent him multiple notices and I had personally visited the hospital twice. But the complaints kept coming in even after all the warnings. The hospital was served with a notice for permit cancellation, and the permit was eventually cancelled."
"In 43 days, 207 patients were admitted and out of them 87 died. The hospital did not have any basic equipment like defibrillators, Xray, suction machine or ECG machine for treatment. There was only one ventilator and 10 BiPAP machines. We added sections of culpable homicide to the charge," Shashikant Chavan, Senior Inspector of the police station told The Indian Express.
Kapadnis informed that at first, the doctor was booked under Section 188 and others of the Indian Penal Code and Sections of National Disaster Management Act but after looking at the number of deaths, a section for culpable homicide not amounting to murder was also invoked.
The doctor had appealed for anticipatory bail but it was rejected by a local court and thereafter, he was arrested and an offence for culpable homicide was registered against him.
"When his anticipatory bail was rejected, we started looking for him in order to arrest him. We received information that he was on Pune highway, and we alerted the check-posts which were already in place for Covid-19 restrictions. As it turned out, his vehicle had been stopped at a check-post on the highway and fined for a violation under the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA). We found him in Kasegaon and arrested him there," informed Dixit Gedam, commissioner of Sangli police.
A case under IPC sections 304, 420, 406, 425, 427, 465, 470, 471, 201, 380, 34 of the Indian Penal Code along with Section 51(b) of the National Disaster Management Act has been registered at Mahatma Gandhi police station in Miraj.
Sanchari Chattopadhyay has pursued her M.A in English and Culture Studies from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal. She likes observing cultural specificities and exploring new places.