Six days after a 27-year-old lawyer, Bhaskar Debroy, died at the state-run Gobinda Ballabh Pant (GBP) Hospital allegedly due to medical negligence, the Tripura Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) Thursday said two doctors have been suspended in the case.
However, hospital authorities and the doctors concerned say they are yet to receive the suspension order.
On Friday, Debroy was taken to the hospital by locals allegedly after his motorbike met with an accident. He passed away the same night. His family alleged he died due to negligence of duty by medical officers and other paramedical staff.
Soon after, lawyers staged protests and candlelight marches in Agartala, demanding justice for Debroy. Left youth bodies too held a demonstration in front of Tripura Police Headquarters, asking for ‘proper investigation’ into the advocate’s death.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, who also holds the health portfolio, visited Debroy’s family and assured them all steps were being taken to probe the matter.
Meanwhile, the state Health department formed a four-member team to investigate the purported medical negligence. After the committee submitted its report to the government, on Thursday, the CMO announced the suspension of Dr. Debashish Paul and Dr. Ronit Das.
However, Medical Superintendent of GBP Hospital, Dr. Ranjit Kumar Das, said he hadn’t received any such order. “I heard just like you that such an order had been issued. But I haven’t received the order. How can I suspend someone on hearsay?” he said.
West Tripura Superintendent of Police Manik Saha too said he didn’t have any orders to act against the the ‘suspended’ doctors.
Speaking to indianexpress.com on Thursday, Dr. Ronit Das admitted he was present on Friday night and did indeed treat the deceased lawyer. He said he had received no suspension order from the authorities.
Debroy’s family claims his injuries were too minor to have caused death. His mother Kankana Debroy said, “Someone has killed my son. Apart from minor wounds on his hands and feet, he had no injury marks on his person. His motorcycle too hadn’t sustained major damage. Can someone die from minor scratches? He didn’t get any treatment at the hospital.”
A colleague of Debroy, advocate Pulak Saha, claimed the police did not register an FIR when he first approached them. He said they got to know of the death only the next morning, as Debroy’s mobile phone was seized by the cops, who didn’t inform his family of his hospitalisation till after his death.
Advocate Saha said when he approached the police, they did not register a complaint. The lawyer then moved a complaint register with the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) on Saturday, which instructed the police to file the FIR.
Saha Wednesday filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) with the High Court, and the court has asked the state government to submit an affidavit during the next hearing on March 23.
Human rights activist and senior advocate Purushottam Roy Barman said government action in probing Bhaskar’s death seemed inadequate. “The government seems to have been forced to take some steps solely due to public pressure. We feel the government action so far is half-hearted. We want a judicial inquiry into the issue”, Barman said.
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