Times of India
22 April 2010
By Arpit Basu
A 15–year–old boy has been paralysed waist downwards after a doctor at Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital allegedly botched two surgeries. As a result, Nagarjun– a healthy, active boy– has been bedridden for months and the doctor in question, orthopaedic surgeon Gautam Bhattacharya, has been trying to avoid the family, claimed father B Dilleswar Rao.
Nagarjun loved outdoor games was growing up like other children in his Garden Reach locality. But around the age of 10, a small lump started growing in the middle of his back. Rao, who works in Hooghly Jute Mill, and his wife Jamuna tried everything within their means but the lump refused to stop growing. By the time Nagarjun was 15, most of his movements were restricted. He still attended classes at R Prasad Vidyalaya at Garden Reach, but most of his outdoor games had stopped.
It was then that Rao decided to take him Dr Bhattacharya for a handicapped certificate. They hoped that the document would help him avail of the benefits given by the state. According to Rao, Dr Bhattacharya checked the boy and told them that an operation was all he would need to be fully cured.
For Rao and his wife, the news was a godsend. They decided to sell off their only property– a plot of land in Berhampur on the Orissa–Andhra Pradesh border– to pay for the surgery which the doctor reportedly said would cost Rs 50,000.
Nagarjun went under the scalpel on August 1, 2009, at NRS. “He was operated barely 24 days after NRS orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gautam Bhattacharya told us that removing the lump would permanently cure him,” said Dilleswar. A small steel plate had to inserted in the vertebral column. But within days of the surgery, the doctors detected an infection and removed the plate. Nagarjun was discharged from hospital and prescribed oral medication which cured the infection.
But Dr Bhattacharya said Nagarjun would still need the steel plate. So the boy was operated on a second time on November 13, 2009, by him. This time, he was discharged and prescribed an exercise routine. Disaster struck a month after the operation. “I started feeling numb waist downwards and could not exercise. Gradually, I lost all sensations– even the urge urinate or defecate,” the boy said.
A shattered Rao, who has spent Rs 1.5 lakh on his son’s failed treatment since last year, alleged that the doctor started avoiding them when they informed him about Nagarjun’s paralysis. On March 30, Dilleswar lodged a complaint against Dr Bhattacharya with NRS superintendent Dr Lakhi Kanta Ghosh but never heard from him since then.
Rao then approached politicians in Garden Reach. Under pressure from South Kolkata district Congress secretary Asim Basu and others, NRS authorities admitted Nagarjun to the hospital once again on Wednesday. Though Dr Bhattacharya was not available for comment, the NRS super said, “We are probing the complaint and, if necessary, an inquiry committee will be formed.”
The hospital’s orthopaedic departmental head, Dr Biplab Acharya, said, “There is a risk element in every surgery and the family was told about this. Nagarjun has now been admitted under my direct treatment. A medical board will reassess his case though we can’t assure we will be able to cure him.”