South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Observing that gross medical negligence during delivery led to the death of a young mother a decade ago, the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) has directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to her family.

The commission has held two doctors accountable, along with the Bhabha hospital in Kurla where Shobha Raju Gautam (22) underwent a delivery and suffered excessive bleeding. The doctors are facing criminal proceedings for medical negligence and have been chargehsheeted by the Mumbai Police.

Shobha and her husband Raju Gautam resided in a Govandi slum. The 22-year-old delivered her first-born, a boy, on October 29, 2007, and passed away the same day. Basing its judgment on a medical report submitted by the JJ hospital, the state human rights commission observed that “post-partum haemorrhage due to unnatural vaginal tear” led to Shobha’s death.

Shobha was admitted to Bhabha hospital for delivery on October 29, 2007. The commission observed that doctors were on strike during her treatment and proper care could not be immediately administered.

Shobha underwent episiotomy, a procedure to make an incision in posterior vagina to allow larger passage for delivering baby, and suffered excessive bleeding. Based on medical reports, Judge M A Sayeed said suturing done post delivery was not proper and could not stop Shobha’s bleeding.

At 3.25 pm the same day, Shobha was referred to Rajawadi hospital after her condition worsened. At 3.50 pm, she passed away in Rajawadi hospital. In his complaint, her father Uttam Khare, who lives in Aurangabad, claimed that doctors in Bhabha hospital did not treat his daughter properly.

“I was later informed that doctors in Bhabha Kurla hospital were responsible for her death. Doctors in Rajawadi hospital said they could not do anything to save her,” Khare said in his complaint to the MSHRC.

The JJ hospital’s medical report, prepared by a three-member panel, including a gynaecologist and a forensic expert, opined that Shobha suffered haemorrhagic shock due to the vaginal tear that led to her death.

The Tilaknagar police also registered a case in 2007. Chargesheet filed by the police blamed two doctors for medical negligence. The case is currently in the Kurla Metropolitan Magistrate’s court. Shobha’s son is now 10 years old. Episiotomy, the procedure carried out on Shobha, is generally conducted by a gynaecologist during normal delivery when the baby is unable to pass through uterus.

The doctors cut either side of a pregnant woman’s posterior opening to enlarge the passage. The “vaginal tear”, in this case, was allegedly conducted in an improper method that caused post-partum haemorrhage. Dr Pradeep Jadhav, heading peripheral hospitals in BMC, said: “This is an old case. We have still not received any order on compensation. I will have to look into records.” Bhabha hospital superintendent Dr K Pimple also did not know about the case. “We do not have these two doctors working in the hospital currently,” he said.

Updated On: November 7, 2017