After insertion of ‘fake device’,four-month-old baby dies at PGI

Her brain surgery was conducted on April 2; social activist moves NHRC

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: June 22, 2013 1:23:37 am

A Four-Month-Old baby girl,who became a victim of an alleged “counterfeit brain shunt” inserted during brain surgery at PGI on April 2,died on Friday morning.

The only child of her parents,she underwent surgery as the extra fluid was accumulated in her brain and doctors planned to insert a shunt. A shunt is a narrow tube that allows excess cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) that has built up inside the skull to drain out into another part of the body such as the heart or abdomen.

“On April 2,the baby required life-saving surgery due to accumulation of extra fluid in her brain. The doctors treating the baby planned to insert a hydrocephalus ventriculoperitoneal shunt and the operating doctor prescribed a particular shunt which was purchased against invoice number A01258 from M/s Baby Care Chemists located in the Advanced Paediatrics Centre,” said Raghbir Singh,father of the deceased.

A week later,the baby became critical and was taken to the hospital again,where the doctor concerned was shocked to find that the shunt was not original. He found that the wrapper of the shunt did not bear the hologram and stamp of the manufacturer. The surgery was conducted by Dr Ram Samujh,Professor at Paediatrics Surgery Department.

Manju Wadwalker,PGI public relations officer,said,“At present,we do not know the exact reason behind the baby’s death. The moment we come to know the exact reason,an action will be taken. However,the reason could be any and not necessarily the use of duplicate shunt.”

Pankaj Chandgothia,an advocate and a social activist,is not convinced. He has filed a complaint before the National Human Rights Commission,New Delhi,alleging large-scale medical malpractices at PGI and its chemist shops. The complaint seeks action against the PGI Director,Baby Care Chemists and Director,Health Services,UT,Chandigarh.

According to him,the complaint also seeks damages of Rs 50 lakh for the parents who have lost their only child because of medical negligence and commercial vested interests.

“For a small amount of Rs 1,700 (the cost of the shunt),the chemist has caused loss of life. The operating doctor,Dr Ram Samujh,is also to be blamed for planting the counterfeit shunt as he should have checked it before using it,” said Chandgothia,adding that a consumer complaint would be filed in due course.

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