The Maharashtra branch of Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) has written to the state health minister, civic body chief and Mumbai police commissioner that resident doctors on duty on January 27 in Nair Hospital when a patient’s relative died after getting pulled into a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine should not be held accountable.
“Innocent persons should not be made scapegoats to shield the real culprits. People like junior doctors/residents should not be punished for the failure of management and system failure,” the letter said.
Stating that resident doctors have to work for 16-18 hours a day, the letter highlighted the issue of staff vacancy. It said that nurses in the MRI department are only available till 4 pm on weekends. The incident happened on a Saturday. It added that technicians and ward boys were not available.
The Agripada police booked four persons, of them two resident doctors from the radiology and the medical intensive care unit (MICU), for the death of Rajesh Maru, a Lalbaug resident who had come to visit a relative in the hospital. Maru was carrying a metallic oxygen cylinder and was pulled by magnetic force of the MRI machine as soon as he entered the room. His family claimed he was asked by ward boy to carry the cylinder.
About the incident of January 27, the association said the on-duty doctor, Siddhant Shah is a 25-year-old resident doctor and had joined the radiology department in May 2017 and is an MBBS graduate. He had instructed the patient and relatives to remove all metallic items before entering the lobby outside the MRI room, the letter said. He had then proceeded to the MRI console room to check with the intensive care unit about why the MRI scan was required for the patient.
The association claims the MRI test for the patient’s brain was scheduled for 3 pm, but patient Laxmi Solanki was brought by 7.30 pm because of shortage of oxygen cylinders to carry along with the patient from the MICU till the MRI unit.
It added that while a nurse monitors the removal of metallic items that a patient may be wearing, the job was done by ward boy Vitthal Chavan who worked in the MICU ward.
“No instruction was given to shift the patient in the MRI gantry room. No permission was given to relatives to enter the lobby,” the association alleged in its letter, adding that protocol mandates a metal detector must be used to scan each person entering the MRI room.
The letter said Shah also did the work of a technician and nurse in their absence. He has alleged he never gave permission to any staff member to open the MRI room. The association has raised concern over violations of protocol in the MRI unit and why the attendant was permitted to enter the MRI room without permission. We are demanding that charges under Section 402(A) should be dropped against the doctors. They were only discharging their duties,” said Dr Shailesh Kore, president, IRIA.
“We are waiting to BMC to submit its report,” a senior police officer said. A committee of experts in the civic body conducted its hearing on February 6 to question radiology student Shah for three hours. The report is yet to be submitted to police.