Seven-year fight for justice bears fruit, and how
Techie studies law after doc’s negligence kills his year-old son; wins case
Chethan and Ashwini will never forget January 5, 2011. Their one-year-old son, Advaith, was wheeled into the operation theatre at Apollo Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, around 8.30 am for a simple hydrocele operation (it’s the swelling of the scrotal sac, a common occurrence amongst newborns and disappears by the time they turn one).
After the operation, Advaith was shifted to the ward. Everything seemed to be going fine for a while but the child developed a severe allergic reaction when an antibiotic was administered intravenously. By 5.30 pm, Advaith was dead.
“I do not know who buried my son’s body. I was in such a state of shock. Some of my relatives took the body away. I do not remember anything,” recalls Chethan. Advaith was the couple’s first child after five years of marriage and they were devastated.
“We were thrown out of the hospital. The security guards pushed us out. The child’s body was dumped in the car. I was helpless,” Chethan says about the aftermath of the incident when he and his father tried to question the hospital. He tried to file a complaint with the police. “The police did not register a case. They said they did not find anything wrong.”
The realisation that the death of their child was due to negligence dawned on them much later. “It was when someone pointed out that the doctor was in Vani Vilas Hospital and not in Apollo at 10 am that I realised something was wrong,” he says.
(Dr Anand Alladi, the operating surgeon, practices at Vani Vilas Hospital too. After the operation at Apollo, it was alleged that he left for Vani Vilas after the operation and gave instructions to the nurse over the phone; in fact, when the child developed an allergic reaction to the antibiotic, he could not be contacted.) Chethan moved the Karnataka Medical Council against Dr Alladi’s medical negligence and his worst fears were confirmed. The KMC report held the doctor negligent and guilty of unethical practice.
Armed with the KMC report, he filed a complaint in the consumer forum. Chethan, a software engineer, then decided to study law to understand the intricacies of how the justice system works and how he could negotiate it for the sake of his son. He even managed to complete five semesters in a city law college while continuing to balance a career in software. His wife, also an engineer, gave up her profession after the tragedy.
Their hard work paid off. The court upheld the contention that the death was the result of negligence. The doctor had prescribed an antibiotic to be administered by a nurse over the phone. It was administered without a test dose. The forum held the hospital guilty of deficiency of service and the doctor of professional negligence.
While Apollo Hospitals received a warning, Dr Alladi was asked to pay Rs 10 lakh as damages. However, since an autopsy was not conducted on the body, a criminal proceeding was not in the realm of possibility.
For Chethan and Ashwini, it was only about justice for their child; and the consumer court’s order gives them a closure of sorts. It was, after all, a fight that spanned seven years.
Chethan, now 40, says that the tragedy not only taught him law but it gave him “an insight and profound knowledge about all aspects and it was the foundation for my fight in this case”. In the meantime, the couple had twins. “But the vacuum cannot be filled. He was my first child after five years of marriage,” he says.
Chethan knows there’s still a long way to go. Dr Alladi has already decided to go in appeal against the order. “The KMC order never mentioned any professional negligence which the consumer forum has referred to. If there is any fact that is overlooked or assumptions have been made, we will have to point it out in the appeal,” he told Bangalore Mirror.
“I do not know what legal battles lie ahead,” says Chethan. “But I am ready for them. It is for my son.”
Lecturer shot dead near college in Indore
Indore: A masked biker called out to a lecturer, “Hi Ma’am,” and shot her dead at point blank range in front of her colleagues in Chhanera town of Khandwa on Monday morning, triggering panic in the area.
The victim, 30-year-old Kirti Bala Mali, taught computer fundamentals at the Government Polytechnic College in Chhanera. She was shot in the head and passed away while being taken to a hospital in Khandwa, around 45km away.
Police say the killer seemed to know Kirti’s routine and was lying in wait. Like every day, she took a train from Khandwa to Chhanera, where she was joined by three colleagues for the short walk to college. TNN