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End Of Doctor’s Life: Victim Of Life-Terminating Treatment

The wound is not yet healed. Life has not been the same as before without You …..

It seems like Doomsday!!!

Wish it comes out to be a nightmare!!!

It is going to be a year since you left us.

This is a real account of a man falling into the jaw of death due to medical negligence or rather indifference of his onetime colleagues from the same profession.

My father was a practicing doctor whom in his worst dream would never ever imagine that his step was heading towards graveyard. He was a senior consultant physician in one of the most popular private hospitals in Manipur. Almost 8 years he served.

Recently, he shifted to another hospital outside Manipur. He was leading a disciplined life and was having a good health. He needed a minor surgery in this private hospital in Manipur and planned to resume his duty very soon. He had full faith in this hospital. So his surgery was done by his favorite surgeon whom he praises often. My father considered this surgeon as the most competent and efficient. But the ironical part is that he had to give up his life because of this excessive trust.

The surgery was over and we were told that there was a little complication, otherwise he was OK. We were not aware of the severity of the complication.

It all began when the assigned surgeon left the next day and was out of station for 3 days. Those 3 days were so crucial for my father’s life. In his absence doctors come and go but no concerned and responsible doctor was available to provide the requisite treatment. His condition started worsening so we addressed the problems to the available doctors. We got the reply “Let the surgeon come….. we cannot take major decision”. The assigned surgeon was back after 3 days. Another surgery was done and he was shifted to ICU. Day by day his condition deteriorated but it was gradual not sudden. We were told that his condition was stable and we believed that it was not a life threatening case. So we followed each and every instruction of the doctor strictly. Eventually his condition aggravated. We later realized that his death was predetermined by those 3 days. Every day he was moving one step closer to death. The treatment was going on in ICU for another 20 days. The surgeon kept on trying on his own…. no doubt he put efforts and assured us that he would recover gradually. On the other hand his body didn’t respond. Later we came to know that, at that point of time the case was not within the range of the surgeon’s experience or specialization. And that type of complication he was not the relevant or appropriate doctor to deal the complication. Still he managed to give the treatment without any consultation or neither did they refer to other hospital. My father also wanted to shift as he had lost hope.

Somehow we managed to bring him to Gangaram hospital in Delhi after prolonged treatment on hit and trial basis for such a long period. By the time he was almost death like… just breathing with a little consciousness. We were praying that nothing happened in the aircraft. It gave us immense relief and hope when he landed there safely. We thanked God and the only word that struck our mind was “Hope”. Soon he was rushed to the hospital and the treatment was started immediately and in a short while he was shifted to ICU. One of the doctors said “Your father is too sick” indicating that we should have brought him earlier. They assured us that they would do their best…. and rest would be in God’s hand. We believed that he was at the right place under the safe hand though already late.

The team of doctors consisted of many super-specialists of different fields. It was a coordinated team and meant for that particular treatment. A major operation was done. We were anguished for not bringing him earlier.

Then there was the routine process of waiting in the ICU waiting room for another 20 days. The doctors kept in touch with us every now and then. Most of the people in the ICU waiting room wore a sad look—some chanting mantras the other lighting candle and agar-batis. In the middle of the night we could hear cries and some lucky ones also walked away happily.

Everyday going inside ICU room and looking at his face was a traumatic experience for all of us. Each and every moment was so painful. It was a test of time. He was lying so quietly, unconscious for so many days. We often saw tears on his face as if he noticed our presence. There was always a fear of losing him as his days were numbered.

Initially the doctors saw some sign of his body responding but later all the organs started disfunctioning —it was declared a multiorgan failure. That night was a Buddhapoornima when we were informed that my father’s condition was very critical and anything could happen any time. We went for that last time to have a glimpse of his face. He was sleeping peacefully.

Though we couldn’t save his life we were contented with their professional way of treatment, their cooperation to us and coordinated deliberative team’s effort.

It was a family tragedy—unexpected and shocking. My father came back home with his coffin.

He was so precious, he was our life, he was everything for us. It was hard to accept the reality. May be we consoled ourselves that it was “Laibakna Tamlamba”. But the fact is that it was not misfortune rather we can attribute his death to the irresponsible & unprofessional conduct of this private hospital in Manipur.

For instance, when the concerned doctor was out of station and assuming that it was a complicated and serious case—does not the hospital authority have any responsibility or obligation to provide alternative arrangement? Or either refer anywhere in Manipur or outside where concerned professionals are available.

In Manipur itself there were specialists available in other hospital meant for handling such case. Later in ICU why the patient was to be kept for so many days—at an alarming stretch of 20 days. When the surgeon was not the competent person for dealing the complication, why such a long delay. If the hospital was not able to deliver the requisite facilities or manpower then what is the purpose of holding back in ICU. What was the relevance of the treatment “From a little complication to a multi organ failure”—it was a long journey.

Promising world class service and professionalism is not enough …it sounds like a double standard talk. Not even basic service was rendered. By no means could we see professionalism except in “bill clearance”. Perhaps monetary consideration was the primary concern. My father had served here for so many years. I don’t mean to anticipate consideration but at least we expected rational and ethical way of treatment. I have the least authority to comment on the technicalities of medical ethics. But as a common man it is understood that such conduct is divergent from the norms of medical ethics.

Being a doctor is a noble profession. We honor the ideals of medical profession and responsibility of the doctors in a society. We cannot expect doctors to save the life of each and every patient.

The only regret is we made a wrong choice. Life is precious and we can’t reverse. But at the end of the day we have lost our father forever. Still life goes on…

*The article is written by A bereaved daughter

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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