Srinagar: On the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday last week, Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science (SKIMS) Hospital witnessed chaos inside its Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), following the alleged medical negligence of a group of doctors on duty that cost the life of a two-year-old child.
Mohammad Ibrahim Malik, the victim’s father, told Kashmir Reader that his son, Eliya Asgar, was under observation following a tracheotomy surgery, necessitated by his suffering from a life-threatening disease, the Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Malik said his child had been struck by paralysis a month ago, but had begun to recover last week for the first time. “Several days ago, doctors conducted a surgery and fitted him with a 4mm trach tube, so that he could breathe easily. Everything was fine, and Eliya had begun to smile and move his left arm after over a month.” Then matters took a fatal turn: “Despite the speedy recovery, junior doctors were hell-bent on unnecessarily replacing the 4mm trach tube with a 5mm one.”
Malik said he and his wife had spoken to the Medical Superintendent (MS) SKIMS, Syed Amin Tabish, regarding the junior doctors’ suggestion, and the MS, according to Malik, had told everyone that the change was not required. “Despite all that, a doctor named Faheem ul Islam did not listen to us and he, without our consent, went on to change the tube,” Malik said.
Said the anguished father, “Around 10 pm, that butcher (Dr Faheem) told my wife that he was going to insert the new tube. My wife insisted he not do it because the MS had already said it was not required, but he still, without our consent, went on to remove it. The moment he took out the tube, Eliya died within minutes from suffocation.”.
Malik said he registered a complaint against the culprit/s at the local Soura police station soon after the death of his child. “The moment the police party visited the hospital, everyone was stunned to see that the doctors had placed the dead body on a ventilator to pretend that my son was still alive. Due to the continuous supply of oxygen, the dead body had swelled, and it looked like he was never a two-year-old kid but was instead 10 years old.” he said. This is confirmed by a medical document in the case, a copy of which is with Kashmir Reader, that records the child as having died at 10.30 pm and then being placed on a ventilator at 11 pm, as revealed by an ECG report.
Mayaser Ali, a relative of the victim, alleged that the MS is trying to shield his staff by not taking any action against the culprits despite knowing the truth. He said that the hospital administration tried to remove all evidence of medical negligence. “In haste, the hospital administration has issued the original as well as the tampere-with report. The tampered documents claim that Fameem went to the PICU at 9 pm after it was found that the child’s breathing tube was dislocated, but the original, on the other hand, mentions that the child died at 10.30 pm.”
Ali said that Supreme Court guidelines prevent the police from taking any action against the culprit. “In this case, the police require the cooperation of the Medical Superintendent, but looking at the tampering attempts, it does not seem justice will be delivered,” he said.
Medical Superintendent Tabish refused to furnish the hospital’s version of the case. He said that he has started an enquiry headed by four senior doctors who will return with their findings. “Till then I cannot comment regarding anything because I represent the patients as well.”