THREE MONTHS after a 32-year-old garment salesman died while he got sucked into a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine in Mumbai, an internal probe by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has indicted B Y L Nair Hospital’s ward boy and a class IV employee for alleged negligence.
The report, however, does not directly hold radiologist Siddhant Shah and medicine department doctor Saurabh Lanjekar responsible for the death. The report was recently submitted to Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta.
“The report has indicted ward boy Vitthal Chavan and class IV employee Sunita Surve. A detailed inquiry will be undertaken now,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Idzes Kundan.
On January 27, Rajesh Maruti Maru had arrived at the hospital’s MRI section for a brain scan. Around 8.30 pm, the magnetic force of the machine sucked him in while he was holding a metallic oxygen cylinder. Hospital employees had then claimed that the cylinder’s knob broke open when Maru was pulled in, causing it to leak. Maru died after inhaling an excessive amount of oxygen.
Officials said that according to the report, Chavan and Surve did not follow standard operating procedure while taking the patient for an MRI scan. Chavan had asked Maru to hold the cylinder in case he required oxygen support, the report added.
Following the incident, Maru’s sister Priyanka Solanki had alleged that he was not asked to leave the oxygen cylinder outside the MRI room. Officials said the report has also found that the hospital did not follow protocol of allowing only two relatives per patient and permitted at least four persons to enter the MRI room. The internal inquiry has based its report on the CCTV footage obtained from the hospital.
Following Maru’s death, Agripada police had registered a case of causing death by negligence against hospital employees. While initially, doctor Lanjekar, Chavan and Surve were named as accused in the FIR and arrested, later radiologist Shah’s name was added. Senior police inspector Savlaram Agwane from Agripada police station said, “We are yet to get the report. The BMC shall be handing over a detailed report to the hospital… they have to submit it to the police station.”
Sources in the BMC on Friday said a departmental inquiry will soon follow. Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said that so far, there are no written standard operating procedures (SOPs) for conducting radiology tests in BMC-run hospitals. “In the said report, we have made it mandatory on laying out a standard operating procedure on the role and responsibilities of the staff at MRI and CT scan rooms in all civic-run hospitals. Besides, detailed Full-fledged Departmental Enquiry (FFDE) should be initiated on those present at the MRI suite of Nair Hospital during the time of the incident. It will be mandatory that only MRI and CT scan compliant equipment be placed in the rooms and suites and no additional and unwanted things are found,” he added.
“Security personnel in the hospital, especially those near MRI and CT scan wards and rooms, would be asked to be more stringent and vigilant. They would be told not to allow unauthorised entry and what should not be allowed inside. The incident has exposed a lot of lacunae…,” said Mehta.