The shocking story of medical negligence that led to a one-year-old child having his foot amputated has moved the Delhi High Court to ask the concerned hospital for an explanation.
In January, a fractured leg brought Jai to the government-run Safdarjung Hospital in the capital where his limb was plastered below the waist. However, the skin festered under the cast and the foot started to detach, necessitating its surgical separation on March 5.
A high court here took note of a news item, which was published in the Metronow tabloid, detailing the case.
A division bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and S.N. Agrawal asked the Safdarjung Hospital and the central government to file their replies by Aug 3 on alleged medical negligence meted out to Jai.
The court also appointed Jubeda Begum, an advocate, to assist the court in the matter.
According to a preliminary report submitted to the court, the child's leg was plastered so tightly that a sensitive nerve got pressed, leading to insufficient blood supply in the limb.
Pushpa, Jai's mother, said: "On Jan 21, we noticed boils peeping out of the plaster and immediately rushed to hospital."
When the plaster was cut open, the child's leg was covered with boils, the skin had turned red and was peeling off, she added.
Jai's father Ram Babu, a tailor by profession, said: "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."
To the horror of both the parents, on Feb 21, the right foot of the child simply began to detach itself 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.
"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.
The newspaper reported a doctor as saying, "Jai suffered because his parents did not inform us in time."
Refuting the allegations, Ram Babu told the newspaper that as soon as he saw a boil peeping out of the plaster, he rushed his son to the hospital on Jan 21, but the doctors did not take proper care of him.
The poor tailor, who earns Rs.2,000 a month, has already spent more than Rs.40,000 on his son's treatment. Despite lodging a complaint against the concerned doctors, he said the police were yet to initiate any action.