Nitika Manchanda died in May 2009 – after giving birth to a wonderful son – as result of Medical Negligence in Max Hospital, Pitampura, New Delhi. Nitika’s sister Deepika Manchanda and father Mr. Suraj Manchanda are fighting to get justice for Nitika. Below is a summary of their struggle, written by Deepika. Deepika also did a video on this medical negligence episode as a Citizen Journalist for CNN IBN which is linked in the end.
We had been hearing about the growing menace of medical negligence and carelessness in India. It hit closer home when my sister, Dr. Nitika Manchanda lost her life for no apparent reason, without any suspected medical history. She had her baby delivered on May 3, 2009 at Max Hospital, Pitampura, Delhi and lost her life two days after delivery on May 5, 2009 subsequent to hours of complaining abdominal pain. We filed police complaint that very day and managed to get the photocopies of case-sheets. We studied those sheets, read text books, searched internet, consulted doctors and realized that this unfortunate and untimely demise happened because of medical negligence and deficiency of services at Max Hospital.
My agony is not over but rather increased after I decided to fight against Max doctors. We filed many RTI applications to the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) to know about the names of the doctors responsible for treatment of my sister and to get information about the infrastructure & working of Max Hospital. We filed several RTIs to get information about the postmortem, histo-pathological , viscera and blood reports from government hospitals and Forensic Science Laboratory. We submitted the reports to police and again filed RTI with police to know the progress of the case. The case was referred to Delhi Medical Council (DMC) for their expert opinion and after one year DMC surprisingly gave clean chit to the Max doctors, despite giving constructive evidence against them. We filed appeal with the Medical Council of India (MCI) and our tireless efforts resulted in MCI finding Max hospital guilty of medical negligence. But even after one year of hearing at MCI, determination of quantum of punishment is still pending. If this is the pace at which we work, no wonder it takes 19 years (as in Ruchika’s case) for people in India to get their investigation taking shape.
What happens behind the scene? Why is the system so unfriendly? Why does it take years to get justice in India? Who will improve the system? These are some questions I struggle with, every night before going to sleep.
Update Sept, 2011 – Deepika and Suraj are still waiting for MCI’s decision on quantum of punishment. MCI is covertly (and overtly) supporting the Doctors at Max Hospital, entertaining frivolous arguments from Max and also facilitating one-sided hearings. The fight for justice goes on.