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Times of India
07 May 2009
Pune, India
By Umesh Isalkar

The incident in which a woman went into coma after a C–section, allegedly because of an overdose of anaesthesia at a hospital on Sus road, was one of the few that was deemed a case of medical negligence by the Sassoon General Hospital’s expert committee on medico–legal issues.

The woman had developed medical complications and went into a coma. A case was registered against the doctors on Monday after the committee deemed them guilty of medical negligence.

The police often refer medico–legal cases to the committee. Its decision is critical as further action is taken based on it. “We get at least four cases of medical negligence every month. Of these, one case is usually adjudged as an instance of medical negligence,” Pandurang Pawar, superintendent of Sassoon hospital and secretary of the committee, said.

Elaborating on the constitution of the committee, Pawar said, “A committee is constituted as per the nature of the case. If the matter pertains to gynaecology, for instance, a senior gynaecologist will head the panel. The head of the committee studies the case for a week. The committee can have as many experts as were actually involved in the case.”

The committee’s ambit stretches to the whole of western Maharashtra. “Sometimes a victim or a victim’s relative is not convinced with the report given by the civil surgeon of that district in a negligence case. The matter may then be handed over by the police or court to the expert committee for review,” Pawar said. He added that cases come from Sangli, Solapur, Ahmednagar and Satara districts, among others.

When contacted, Subhash Behere of the medico–legal cell of the Indian Medical Association, Pune chapter, said, “We receive around 10 complaints pertaining to medical negligence from all parts of the state every month. But this doesn’t mean that the field has turned grossly commercial.”

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