On the eve of his 44th birthday, city-based prominent spine surgeon, Dr Ketan Khurjekar, and the driver of his hired car were killed after their vehicle was hit by a speeding bus on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway near Talegaon Dabhade on Sunday night. Two other doctors travelling with them were injured in the accident. According to police, the accident took place when they had stopped the car on the roadside to change a punctured tyre.
The accident took place sometime between 10.30 and 10.50 pm on Sunday at Somatane near Talegaon Dabhade when the three doctors were on their way back from Mumbai, along with the driver of the hired cab, after attending a medical conference. Police have identified the deceased driver as Dnyaneshwar Bhosale (28), who hailed from Solapur and was living in Hinjewadi, and two injured doctors as Jayesh Pawar and Pramod Bhillare.
Inspector Kishor Mhasawade of Shirgaon police outpost under Pimpri-Chinchwad police jurisdiction said, “As per our primary information, the car (Hyundai Accent) had halted on the shoulder lane of the Expressway after a puncture in one of the tyres. While the tyre was being changed, Dr Khurjekar stepped out of the car to assist the driver. While two other doctors were about to get out, a speeding private bus came from behind and hit them. Dr Khurjekar and their driver were killed and two other doctors have sustained injuries. The driver of the bus fled after the accident. We have launched a search for him.”
Bodies of both the deceased were handed over to their families after autopsy at Talegaon district hospital.
Dr Khurjekar was the chief spine surgeon with Sancheti hospital in Pune.
With a Master of Surgery in Orthopaedics from Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Karad, Kolhapur University, Dr Khurjekar earned various laurels, including an M.Ch (orthpaedic surgery) from Ninewells Hospital, UK, fellowships in trauma surgery from Ganga Hospital and Spine Surgery Centre at Coimbatore, gold medals and research paper awards. Member of various orthopaedic associations in Pune, Maharashtra and country, Dr Khurjekar was also involved in correction of spinal deformities like scoliosis. His last rites will be performed on Tuesday. The body will be kept at Sancheti hospital between 10.30 am and 11.30 am for people to pay their last respects.
Dr K H Sancheti, founder of the Sancheti hospital, said his death was a huge shock for the medical fraternity and patients. “He was an important pillar of our hospital, an excellent surgeon and good human being,” Dr Sancheti said. For Dr Parag Sancheti, chairman and managing director of Sancheti hospital, the loss was a personal one. “He was like my younger brother. A brilliant spine surgeon, he was a master of complex spine surgeries and had carried out over 10,000 surgeries. He headed the spine surgery department for over 15 years,” Dr Parag said.
Dr Chetan Pradhan, trauma surgeon at Sancheti hospital, said the demise of Dr Khurjekar was a huge loss as he was an excellent surgeon and good human being.
At the Pune Association of Spine Surgeons, secretary Dr Amol Rege remembered Dr Khurjekar as a talented, innovative and extremely skilful surgeon. “He had dedicated himself to this field. He was extremely caring and full of energy and enthusiasm. He treated patients and colleagues as part of his family and was a member of the Maharashtra Orthopaedic Association and a member of the Scoliosis Research Society. He will be missed,” Dr Rege said.
Dr Rajesh Parasnis, spine surgeon who was among those instrumental in starting the spine surgery department at Sancheti hospital, said Dr Khurjekar was a gifted surgeon. “Despite a rising career graph, he was very humble… Spine surgeries can be stressful but Dr Khurjekar was always smiling. It is a great loss to our fraternity,” Dr Parasnis said.
Dr Khurjekar is survived by wife Dr Devarati, two daughters and parents Adv Shripad Khurjekar and Anagha Khurjekar.
Meanwhile, the police said the private bus, which was involved in the accident, was taking passengers from Mumbai to various places in Karnataka. None of the passengers in the bus sustained injuries.
Inspector Mhasawade said, “We have launched a search for the driver of the bus. We are also trying to find out under what circumstances the mishap took place.”