3 years after teen egg donor’s death,mother puts doc in dock

In three years,I have cried several nights thinking of my daughter.,says Pramila.

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | Mumbai | Published: December 11, 2013 12:22 am

More than three years after the death of 17-year-old Sushma Pandey,who had been an egg donor at ‘Rotunda – The Centre for Human Reproduction,’ in Bandra,her mother Pramila Pandey filed a complaint before the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) seeking action against the medical director of Rotunda,Dr Gautam Allahbadia.

In her complaint in Marathi,Pramila (44),a resident of Saki Naka,alleged that despite her daughter being unmarried and under 18 years,Dr Allahbadia carried out the egg donation procedure that put her through pain and caused her death.

This could be a first-of-its kind complaint before the MMC that has the power to terminate or suspend the medical practice of a doctor,if he or she is found guilty of professional misconduct. The complaint was filed on October 5 after the officers of the Saki Naka police station sought the opinion of the medical legal council of J J Hospital,following a Bombay High Court order. Dr Allahbadia and the Rotunda Centre have,however,been spared criminal charges.

“In three years,I have cried several nights thinking of my daughter. I want justice for her. She was young,naive and somebody took advantage of that,” Pramila told Newsline.

When reached for a comment,Allahbadia replied through a text message,“The matter is sub-judice and I will be unable to comment on it.”

The MMC,which had a backlog of 600 cases in 2011,some as old as 1985,may,however,not be able to hear the case soon. Dr Shivkumar Utture,executive committee member of the MMC said this was the first time that he had heard of such a case against a doctor. “We have two ethical committees. After a complaint is filed,we send a notice to the doctor and if we find that there is prima facie a case,we hear both the parties,” said Utture. “The committee sits once a month and it is highly unlikely that a case as recent as October will be heard before January-February,” he added.

The Bombay High Court had in March 2012 discharged Sunil Chaumal,a scrap depot owner and Sushma’s employer,who is accused of poisoning her. However,the court pulled up the police for not probing the role of the hospital in her death.

“Curiously,the chargesheet does not show that the investigating machinery had proceeded against Rotunda hospital,which has a record of the victim being an egg donor on three occasions prior to the incident,in flagrant violation of the requirement that such a donor has to be between the ages of 18 years and 35 years,when the victim was only 17 years on the last occasion… and she had been donating eggs for at least one-and-a-half years before this,” the High Court had observed.

Following the court’s order,Saki Naka police consulted J J Hospital regarding the action to be taken against the Rotunda Centre. “The committee said that the Assisted Reproductivity Bill has not been made a law yet and hence,its sections cannot be applied in this case. They suggested that a complaint can be filed in the MMC,” said an officer.

mayura.janwalkar@expressindia.com

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