January 21, 2022 12:59:13 am
THE DEATH of a two-year-old boy in the Shivaji Nagar area of Mumbai has put the spotlight on unqualified people running ‘medical’ practices in the area, prompting police to conduct raids at various ‘clinics’ on Thursday.
Two-year-old Taha Azim Khan was vomiting and had diarrhoea when he was admitted to Noor hospital on January 11. On the bed next to him was a 16-year-old suffering from fever. As per Azim Shaikh (35), the boy’s father, nurses Nargis and Saleemunnisa had an argument over who would give an injection to Taha on January 13 before he was to be discharged. “In a fit of rage, Nargis gave the injection to my son… Within half an hour, my son was dead,” Shaikh alleged.
An officer from the Shivaji Nagar police station said the two injections were kept in the same drawer and instead of his medication, Taha was given Azithromycin 500 mg, meant for the older boy. Too strong for him, the injection caused the boy’s death.
Senior inspector Arjun Rajane said they learnt the nurse had not done any medical course and was pursuing her HSC. She also worked as a sweeper at the hospital, he said.
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“We investigated the matter for a week… on Wednesday, we registered an FIR on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, causing death due to negligence among other charges against the nurses, the hospital Resident Medical Officer and a management official,” he said. The four accused are currently on the run.
When The Indian Express visited Noor hospital, a receptionist said she had joined work recently and did not know about the incident. While the mobile number of Dr Sayed Nizam, one of the hospital directors, was switched off, the other two directors, Huzaifa Ahmed and Sayed Maaz, said they were medical students and did not know about the incident.
Azeem said, “My child had recovered in two days… But the hospital authorities kept delaying his discharge, saying they wanted to give him some antibiotics.”
Azeem, who has a pizza shop in the area, has six children and Taha was second to the youngest of the siblings. “My wife is even scared to go to the room where we kept him,” he said.
On Thursday, officers from the Shivaji Nagar police station conducted raids at various clinics under their jurisdiction to find out if medical personnel were serving without licence. Police have begun raids on “fake doctors” in the area, which is located along the eastern suburbs and has the lowest human development index in the city.
An officer said that while in rare cases, they find doctors without any qualification, they have also found people practising as doctors with degrees not recognised by the Maharashtra Medical Council.
An officer said such clinics thrive because they do not charge as much as a qualifed doctor would. Tousif Shaikh, a local, said, “A highly qualified doctor will charge a high consulting fee which we will find difficult to pay.” An officer added that some of these doctors then hire local help, majority of whom are not qualified. “In the absence of these doctors, the helps, who are not equipped to do so, offer medication, leading to such incidents,” the official added.
On Sunday, a 10-year-old Tahir Khan died, allegedly after taking medication given by a dentist. A police officer said Khan’s mother took him to the dentist on January 15 for toothache. After taking the medication, the boy developed rashes on his hand following which he was taken to Rajawadi hospital at Ghatkopar. He died the next day. The police have taken an Accidental Death Report as the cause of death is not known yet.
“It may be an allergic reaction. In such cases, we send the viscera to the forensic laboratory and later a panel of doctors gives us a report. So far, no FIR has been registered,” said an officer from Shivaji Nagar police station.
Relying on such a panel report, on December 29, the Shivaji Nagar police arrested a nurse for allegedly giving a wrong injection to a woman in October 2021, leading to her death.
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