Toddler dies at SKIMS, family alleges doctor of ‘murder’

The concerned doctor ‘on the run’, hospital authorities admit

Srinagar: A family residing in the Shalimar area of Srinagar on Monday accused a doctor of ‘murdering’ their two and half year old baby boy.

The tragedy took place when the doctor in question performed a medical procedure called tracheotomy.

The baby boy Eliya Ali was suffering from Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) which is a rapid-onset muscle weakness caused by the immune system damaging the peripheral nervous system.

Tracheotomy, a procedure, in which a tube is inserted into the windpipe of the patient to open the restricted airway and enable breathing.

However, according to the family, the doctor, identified as Faheem-ul-Islam went against the advice of the seniors and changed the tube, which caused the death.

The doctor is on the run, a fact admitted by the senior doctors at SKIMS.

In the first week of September, the baby was shifted from GB Pant hospital to SKIMS, Soura, after he was there for 22 days.

According to Eliya’s uncle Ali Mayasar, a chest tube was put in the baby’s mouth which helped him in breathing first in GB Pant Hospital where he was for twenty two days and then in SKIMS Soura where he survived only for two days.

“For long term ventilation, he (Eliya) was shifted to Soura after twenty two days to be put on a ventilator and that was what we did. On reaching there they treated my nephew in a very good way. His first procedure of ‘Tracheotomy’ was done in an operation theater under proper guidance in which a 4mm chest tube was put through his trachea,” Ali explains.

However according to Ali, a junior doctor Faheem-ul-Islam suggested changing the tube with a 5mm one which would help him breathe better. According to the family, the senior doctors had not agreed.

“A senior doctor told us that he was doing very well and his lungs were better than before and within three to four days we could take him home but that didn’t happen,” he adds.

It was during the night of 16th September when Eliya’s mother was feeding him in the ICU where she overheard two doctors suggesting each other to change the chest tube and put the 5mm tube in place of 4mm.

“She hadn’t agreed to it firstly because it was night time and secondly they (doctors) were not agreeing to do the procedure properly in the operation theatre,” Ali says.

Allegedly Faheem was the one who had urged that the tube be replaced and had ran after he had failed to do the procedure correctly resulting in Eliya’s death.

“He had asked my sister-in-law to leave the ICU and had gone ahead with the tracheotomy that got wrong and killed my nephew,” he adds.

Ali recalls how Dr. Faheem had come out of the ICU after few minutes and had ran away which made them suspicious and went to the ICU where they found their kid lying lifeless on the bed.

After the incident, the family had gone to the in-charge of the ICU that night who was asleep and had ‘overlooked’ the death of their kid.

“That person didn’t listen to us and told us that it wasn’t possible that the doctor’s negligence killed Eliya. Then we went to the senior resident who said that he will look into the matter and we should not go to the police,” Mayasar added.

When they were told not to go to the police, the family went to the nearest police station (Soura) and filed a complaint. When the police confronted the doctors, they denied that the baby was dead!

“When the police confronted the senior resident and enquired about the death of the two year old, he denied the fact that our baby was dead. He asked us to visit him where he was lying. They had put him on a ventilator after they had un-wrapped his body from the shroud we had put him in,” Ali says.

As per Eliya’s uncle his dead body had swollen after being given oxygen through the ventilator that his body couldn’t process.

“At 10:30 the authorities had declared him dead and at 11:36 he was pretended being alive by giving an ECG report that displayed his flat heart rate,” he accused.

After the police intervention, the Senior Resident had written and accepted that Dr. Faheem had taken off from the hospital after he had allegedly killed Eliya, the family claimed.

“The authorities had made two reports, one was fake and one was real. I asked for the reports and fortunately or mistakenly they gave me both of them,” Ali says.

The case is still being looked into and the doctor allegedly has not been brought forward by the hospital authorities.  The concerned SHO told Free Press Kashmir that he has been on leave and doesn’t know much about the case.

“Right now the enquiry is underway. We can’t say if the doctor is guilty or not,” he said.

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