AIIMS fires senior resident doctor over nurse’s death

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The nurse, Rajbir Kaur, with husband Manish Behl

Taking a serious view of the death of a pregnant nurse, Rajbir Kaur, at AIIMS on February 4, the institute’s administration Tuesday terminated services of a senior resident of the anaesthesiology department, who had been accused of medical negligence.

The administration said the moves comes after the inquiry committee found the senior resident “guilty” of “wilful absence” of his duties.

It also said the AIIMS director will issue a “displeasure of memorandum” against another senior resident of the gynaecology department, involved in the surgery. A formal declaration will be issued against the doctor, and she will not be employed with AIIMS once her contract ends.

The administration also issued a showcause notice to the consultant on call of obstetrics and gynaecology, under whose supervision the surgery was performed, asking why action should not be taken against him. Officials said the panel found that the consultant on call “was not present for the emergency operation despite being informed”.

Following Kaur’s death, three senior residents — two from gynaecology and one from anaesthesia — had been accused of medical negligence. The administration had said they would be “off duty” till a final call is taken based on findings of the eight-member inquiry panel headed by Professor S C Sharma, head of the ENT department.

“Based on the committee’s findings and two rounds of meetings at the level of director, AIIMS, the following administrative action has been taken. An amount of Rs 10 lakh compensation shall be given to the nurse’s next of kin,” V Srinivas, deputy director, administration, AIIMS, said.

Officials said a “warning” will be issued to the junior resident in the anaesthesiology department as the panel found he had “left the operation theatre under pressure from residents of obstetrics and gynaecology”.

Officials told The Indian Express that the inquiry had found that Kaur’s was a “low-risk pregnancy” and that labour was was “progressing well” till there a was a “sudden drop in heart rate, necessitating emergency surgery”.

The administration also directed the head of department, anaesthesia, to “ensure that a consultant will be available” to supervise anaesthesiology services in ICU, main OT, radiology department, and maternity OT.

‘Baby was limp at the time of birth’

The eight-member inquiry committee looking into the death of nurse Rajbir Kaur has concluded that her “baby was limp”, indicating that the brain tissues possibly did not receive enough oxygen due to the difficult birth, sources said.

“When the newborn is out, it cries and moves its limbs. But in this case, the baby was limp. It can happen when the brain tissue is not receiving enough oxygen. This happens if labour is obstructed, or if there is an issue with the mother. It happens during difficult birth,” said a senior doctor.

Even as the AIIMS administration terminated a senior resident doctor, the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology has kept the findings of Kaur’s post-mortem “pending” and sought “queries” from the Delhi Police. Sources said a final opinion will be given after the police’s reply.

Kaur’s family said they were “satisfied” with the AIIMS administration’s decision. “But we are waiting for the police to register an FIR on a complaint filed by us,” said Manish Behl, Kaur’s husband.

AIIMS doctors blame ‘infra lacunae’ for nurse’s death

AIIMS doctors blame 'infra lacunae' for nurse's death

The controversy over death of an AIIMS nurse, allegedly due to medical negligence, is far from over.

The hospital’s resident doctors have cited ‘infrastructure lacunae’ in the maternity operation theatre as the main reason behind the staff nurse’s death during an operation.

The resident doctors of anesthesia department have written to health minister J P Nadda to reconsider the decision. Calling the final report by AIIMS as inappropriate, the doctors have said there was an infrastructure lacunae in the back table of the maternity OT, where Rajbir Kaur was operated, leading to her death.

“We have found a number of infrastructure lacunae in the back table of the OT, where Kaur was operated upon, which directly contributed to poor outcome in her case,” says the letter written to Nadda, also the president of AIIMS.

According to resident doctors, the back table in the maternity OT was never meant for general anesthesia practice as it lacks basic life-saving facilities. A committee was constituted to investigate the alleged negligence by doctors. Kaur had suffered a cardiac arrest during the surgery on February 4, leading to her death.

Resident doctors said the senior resident whose services have been terminated had clearly denied Kaur’s case initially, considering the maternal safety issues for conducting anesthesia in back table.

“If the administration does not reconsider this decision to sack the senior resident doctor of anesthesia, while not acting against senior faculty and administration responsible, we will be forced to go on strike,” said a resident doctor. Sources said even the victim’s family was not happy with the institute’s action and may seek legal recourse for justice.

Kaur was admitted on January 16 for a normal delivery. The labour was progressing well till 5am the next day when there was a sudden drop in fetal heart rate, necessitating an emergency surgery. A probe by an internal committee found that an anesthesiologist was not present during the caesearean section operation. Instead, the job was performed by a junior resident who neither had the experience nor was trained enough to handle such a complicated case.

The child was stillborn and Kaur went into distress due to aspiration- entry of stomach material into the respiratory tract.