Ganga Sen (45) lived in Malad with her husband and children. In January 2019, she began to experience severe menstrual bleeding and her physician referred her to Jeevan Maternity Hospital, Malad. Dr Sarina Relan and Dr Ramesh Relan performed the hysterectomy, along with their team, on January 13. Even after being discharged from hospital, Ganga continued to complain of abdominal pain and her son, Rahul, took her back to see Dr Sarina. According to the FIR, Ganga was told that pain was experienced sometimes and she would get better. She was given antibiotics.
The pain never went away though. Meanwhile, Rahul’s wedding was planned at their hometown in Rajasthan. The family travelled to Udaipur but Ganga’s condition was no better. Another visit to a physician and more antibiotics did not help. On May 6, Ganga was wheeled into J K Hospital at Udaipur after she developed a fever and began to vomit. A CT scan revealed a surgical mop in her body.
“She underwent a surgery which was videographed. Doctors took out the surgical mop and told us about the extent of the infection,” said Rahul. Ganga spent another over two months in various hospitals even as the family struggled to foot the medical bills. On July 26, Ganga died at home.
Rahul had given a complaint letter to the police before her death. “The protocol in cases of this nature is to send all documents to an experts’ panel at Grant Medical College. If the panel finds a doctor negligent, only then is an FIR registered,” said investigating officer Amol Shinde.
Rahul made close to 50 trips in the past two years to the police station, the court and to Grant Medical College for redressal. He was told at the medical college that there was a high pendency of cases.
Out of funds, Rahul, who works as a bank peon, moved to Virar with his wife. His father and sisters stayed back in Rajasthan. After the experts gave a report earlier this year, stating the gynecologists had been negligent, the police registered an FIR on March 1. The report also mentioned a separate incident, reported in TOI in 2008, of a surgical mop being left in the body of another patient at the same hospital.
TOI reached out to Jeevan Hospital for a comment. Dr Siddharth Relan, husband of Dr Sarina, said she would get back if she wished to talk, but there was no response.
“There is a need for courts to direct the administration to formulate appropriate guidelines pertaining to medical negligence cases. The experts’ panel could add a judicial member in addition to doctors, which would bring transparency to the process. As the police are yet to make any arrest, we may approach Bombay high court with a PIL (public interest litigation) for speedy disposal of such cases,” said advocate Tanya Jha, representing the Sens.