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Monday, June 18, 2012

Negligent Doctor leaves scissors in the stomach


People often liken doctors to Gods. But the fact remains that for all their healing prowess, they are hardly infallible.

A 2002 Tamil comedy film, a Kamal Hassan starrer - Pammal K. Sambandam, was a film directed by Moulee and scripted by Crazy Mohan. The film features Kamal Haasan in the title role alongside Simran with Abbas and Sneha in primary supporting roles.  Sambandham (Kamal Haasan),  appears as a garish looking stunt master in film – Simran in a role as a Doctor would get entangled fearing that she has accidentally left an item inside his stomach while performing an operation – funny are the ways of cinema stories….

It was not all that funny for a woman in her 30s, who went to a cosmetic surgeon in Lyons in October for a 'tummy tuck' operation to flatten her stomach after two pregnancies.  Worse was to follow as she experienced  severe stomach cramps within days of her apparently 'successful' surgery.  Later it was revealed that a  piece of metal protruding from her belly button was causing her all the trouble.  That was a story in France.  When she went to  her Doctor complaining of pain in stomach, she was told it was not unusual after a tummy tuck.  After the pain became unbearable, she was rushed to hospital where X-rays showed a pair of four-inches long Halstead surgical forceps in her abdomen.  Her lawyer Jean Sannier added: "The hospital immediately realised this was a surgical implement left in her stomach from a previous operation."  The victim got so annoyed on hearing the surgeon reportedly stating that he would the forceps out for free as a 'Valentine's Day present'. His casual attitude to the  patient's distress was quite unacceptable.  After removal of the forceps, she reportedly launched legal action against the surgeon for the blunder. 

A desi story at Kodaikanal on similar lines – a  negligent doctor at a hospital in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, almost cost a woman her life when he left a pair of scissors in her abdomen during an operation for uterus prolapse, that is, the dislocation of the uterus.  All the worse is the fact that the scissors remained undetected for 12 years, despite the victim Regina Mary's repeated complaints to the hospital about a persistent stomach ache. Miraculously, Mary managed to live through the ordeal but is currently fighting for her life at a Madurai hospital. 

The 56-year-old mother of six went to Van Allen Hospital in 2001 following severe abdominal pain. She was advised surgery for uterus dislocation but far from relieving her of the pain, it unleashed a 12-year battle with anguish for Mary. Instead of solace, it was pain after the accident and she kept going to the same hospital for treatment and was reportedly prescribed some medicines dismissing her pain as a minor ailment. 

Years later, her stomach got swollen and she began having trouble breathing and at that point time, their family decided to approach a different hospital.  Sadly, even as a CT scan at the hospital revealed the scissors in her abdomen, Mary's family couldn't get her treatment started immediately for want of money. They say the suspicion that the doctor may have botched up the surgery had always lurked at the back of their minds.

Times of India and INS report that when they approached the authorities at Van Allen, they reportedly were  asked us not to contact the media and  were assured that the hospital would do everything possible to help us. Later they turned back to say that the victim would have to bill the expenses on their own.  So she had to be admitted to a private hospital in Madurai. On May 31,2012,  a report was filed with the Kodaikanal police against Van Allen Hospital and the team of doctors responsible but there's been no action since.

Media reports quoting the Van Allen hospital stated that the hospital would not accept any attempt to fleece and were doubtful about the veracity of the claim itself.  They were trying to take  duck stating that the doctor who had performed the operation had since left the hospital and that hospital had also changed hands in the meantime.

Police reportedly had started their investigations looking in to many angles including the veracity of the incident of scissors inside the stomach and on whether she had undergone any other surgery in due course.

Strange are the ways of people !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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