The Delhi High Court Friday ordered a judicial probe into the alleged medical negligence by doctors at a government-owned hospital which led to the amputation of a one-year-old child's limb earlier this year.
A division bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and S.N. Agrawal ordered the additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) of New Delhi to conduct the probe and file a report in three months.
"We direct the ACMM of New Delhi to conduct a fact-finding inquiry into the alleged medical negligence and submit a report to the court. The medical superintendent of the hospital has been directed to pay Rs.10,000 to the family of Jai, the child, as an interim measure."
In January, Jai was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital with a fractured leg. His leg was plastered below the waist, but the skin festered under the cast and his foot started to detach from the ankle, forcing doctors to perform an amputation March 5.
According to a preliminary report submitted to the court, the plaster cast was so tight that it pressed on a sensitive nerve and disrupted blood supply.
Pushpa, Jai's mother, said: "On Jan 21, we noticed boils showing through his (Jai's) plaster and immediately rushed him to the hospital."
When the plaster was cut open, the child's leg was covered with boils, and the skin had turned red and was peeling off, she added.
Jai's father Ram Babu, a tailor, added: "I went to all the senior doctors, but they refused to meet us. I went to the medical superintendent's office, but I was told he would not meet me. A senior official asked me to slug it out in the court if I had the money."
On Feb 21, to the horror of his parents, Jai's right foot began to detach from the ankle.
"I was horrified. I cried and pleaded with the doctors to save my only son," said Pushpa.
Jai's leg was then amputated below the ankle, leaving him crippled for the rest of his life.
However, the doctors said it is a common thing in orthopaedic cases.
"It happens. It is a common thing in orthopaedic cases. Every card issued to the patients bears a note saying that if they notice a boil or any sign of blood blockage, they should inform us," the doctors allegedly told the parents.
Metronow, a city-based tabloid, reported a doctor as saying, "Jai suffered because his parents did not inform us in time."
Refuting the allegations, Ram Babu told the tabloid that as soon as he saw a boil peeping out of the plaster, he rushed his son to the hospital Jan 21, but the doctors did not take proper care of him.
The tailor, who earns a meagre Rs.2,000 per month, has already shelled out more than Rs.40,000 on his son's treatment. Despite lodging a complaint against the doctors concerned, he said the police were yet to take any action.