A day after the body of gynaecologist Dr Poonam Satpute was found in her Andheri West flat, Amboli police registered a case of accidental death on Wednesday. Autopsy conducted on the 50-year-old doctor revealed that she died at least three days before the body was found.
The death of the doctor, who suffered from diabetes over a period of time, shocked the medical community as the news broke on social media platforms. A forensic expert said Satpute is suspected to have suffered from hypoglycemia — low blood sugar levels — due to diabetes that led to her death. “It seems she missed her meals or was in stress. She seems to have suffered a natural death,” a forensic expert said.
Satpute was known to be one of the first few gynaecologists in the city to use robotic surgeries. In over 24 years of her career, Satpute worked in Singapore heading a robotic surgery department in a private hospital. Later, she worked in Chennai’s Apollo Hospital before moving to Mumbai a few years ago. Satpute consulted with several private hospitals, including Cloud Nine, and earlier in Brahma Kumaris Global Hospital and Research Center.
“She was my batch mate from 1986 to 1991 in KEM hospital. It is a shock to us that she passed away,” said Dr Niranjan Agrawal, the chairman of Network of AMC hospitals (NOAH). Gynaecologist Dr Sangeeta Pikale said Satpute was known to be “energetic and vibrant”. Pikale said: “She was very bubbly. It is difficult to imagine she may even suffer from depression.”
The police do not suspect homicide. Autopsy findings stated there was no external injuries on the body. It was found in a semi-decomposed condition. “We have preserved viscera sample for chemical analysis to check if there was any drug overdose,” a forensic doctor said.
According to the police, on Tuesday, Satpute’s neighbours complained of a foul smell from the doctor’s second-storey flat in Four Bungalows, Andheri, and alerted them. The body was found late on Tuesday evening. Satpute’s younger sister and parents also stay in Andheri but the family members claim that no one was in contact with her on a regular basis. “We are trying to cope with this. Our family is in shock,” Satpute’s sister Neelam said. According to relatives, Satpute lived alone in a rented flat. Her husband, who underwent a bypass surgery two months ago, lives in Chennai.
“She moved to a rented accommodation after our building went under redevelopment few years ago. Perhaps because it was Christmas and an extended weekend, the hospital thought she was on leave and did not get curious about her absence,” an old neighbour of Satpute said. The doctor’s last rites were held in Amboli on Wednesday afternoon. The post-mortem had been conducted at Dr R N Cooper Hospital.
On Wednesday, doctors discussed how stress levels have increased amongst medical professionals. “Despite being doctors, our life span is reducing because of stress,” gynaecologist Pikale said. Satpute’s last communication on Whatsapp, her colleagues said, was on December 23 around 11 pm. An officer from Amboli police station said an accidental death report had been registered at the police station in connection with the case.