Tamil Nadu: Infant Loses Arm, Parents Claim Medical Negligence; Political Row Erupts

An infant with multiple health complications got his right arm amputated after gangrene was found in his scans but the mother claimed that the medical negligence of the hospital led to this point. The opposition party leader accused the Tamil Nadu government of providing poor medical healthcare.

tamil nadu infant arm amputated

The mother of a 1.5-year-old infant accused the government hospital in Chennai of medical negligence after the infant lost a hand and this has sparked controversy in the state.

The senior doctors of Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) in Chennai will submit a report on the details of the case to the state government on July 4 after the opposition parties accused the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) of not caring about the patients in the government hospitals.

According to the reports, the hospital officials informed that the infant, named Mohammed Makir was born with multiple health complications which included hydrocephalus. For such a neurological disorder, cerebrospinal fluid builds up abnormally in the brain cavities. According to the reports he was underweight at birth and his parents treated him in two different government hospitals in the state before they came to Chennai last year.

The doctors at RGGGH performed surgery to put a shunt on his head after draining excess fluid buildup and the shunt was connected to his stomach. The state health minister M Subramanian told the media, "The baby has taken treatment in RGGGH several times in the last 1.5 years."

What happened to the infant?

According to the reports, this year on May 29, the baby was again rushed to RGGGH for emergency surgery after the shunt that was attached to his head went through his stomach and came out of his anus so the doctors performed another surgery to put a new shunt. 

The doctors informed that the baby had developed severe hydrocephalus from intraventricular haemorrhage or bleeding in the brain and his first shunt placing surgery was done back when he was five months old, reportedly.

After the new surgery was done, the infant was monitored in the hospital as his medications were given intravenously. But what unfolded ahead was not something that the family of the infant saw coming. The infant developed a thrombotic episode that led to gangrene in one of his hands.

The doctors reportedly said, “In the postoperative period, the child developed an acute thrombotic episode involving the right arm, and despite emergency appropriate interventions, the thrombosis progressed rapidly, resulting in a non-salvageable limb."

Reportedly the infant was sent to the Government Institute of Child Health in Egmore for amputation after a scan found gangrene in his right arm. Reports said that a multi-disciplinary team of experts performed the surgery immediately to save his life and post-operation, the Paediatric Care Unite is monitoring the infant's health. 

What is the family accusing? 

Azeesa Abdul, the mother of the infant claims that medical negligence in RGGGH led to the need for amputation because on June 29, she observed redness in her child's fingers and informed the nurses but was taken care of. 

Abdul reportedly said, “I told the nurses that his hand is turning red, and they asked us to apply this ointment.” She further explained, “If the nurses or doctors had responded when I alerted them, my baby wouldn’t have lost his arm. By the time the duty doctor arrived, his entire arm had turned reddish and numb.”

Azeesa Abdul accuses the government hospital of negligence and said, “I only know that my baby has swelling in his head and that is why we came here for treatment. Now they have removed his hand. Everyone is lying. The government has to answer for my baby losing his hand.”

Reports said that the RGGGH Dean Dr E Theranirajan has formed a committee of senior doctors including vascular surgeon, a general surgeon and a paediatric haematologist to investigate the case. Dr Theranirajan reportedly said, “Nurses gave the ointment suspecting thrombosis, and doctors confirmed that there were blood clots, and it was immediately decided that to save the baby’s life we have to amputate the arm."

Political controversy

The former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Edappadi Palaniswami claimed that the current government does not care about the health of children and senior citizens, he reportedly said, "When AIADMK was governing, we provided excellent medical health," he added, "But the present DMK government doesn’t care. Children and senior citizens do not get proper treatment in government hospitals.” He also demanded that DMK government under MK Stalin ensures the public that such incidents won't be repeated in future of the state's healthcare.

M Subramanian in defence of the government reportedly said, “If the committee finds medical negligence, we will surely take action," adding to that he mentioned, "We are being transparent." He asked Palaniswami to not defame the state medical sector.

Subramanian also met the parents of the infant on Monday and reportedly gave them an alternative choice, he reportedly said, "If they do not have faith in government doctors, they can go to a private hospital or doctor of their choice, and the government will bear the expenses. We can even take a second opinion from private practitioners to decide if there has been a mistake.”