Two months after death of techie, cause of death yet to be ascertained; DMO yet to receive a request to investigate case

The law often takes its time to ascertain the guilt or innocence of an accused. In the case of medical negligence, however, the process of justice delivery seems to take even longer.

An example is the case of death of a 26-year-old during surgery at a private hospital in Aluva. Denny Sunny, a software engineer working in Bangalore, died on January 12, 2014, during a minor surgery on his jaw bone.

A post-mortem conducted the next day found a 327-cm-long piece of cotton gauze in his throat. The police soon registered a case against the hospital authorities under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code for causing death by negligence. Two months after the death of the young techie, the cause of his death is yet to be ascertained. The section of the post-mortem report on opinion on cause of death reads, “Reserved pending laboratory investigation report.”

Police officers said the man’s internal organs had been sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory for chemical examination. “The laboratory is understaffed and they work on a priority basis. We approached the courts with a petition asking for the report to be completed quickly so we could continue with the investigation. An order in this regard was issued about a month ago. But we haven’t received the report yet,” said a police official.

In cases of medical negligence, the police have to follow an additional step during investigation. A special medical board comprising the District Medical Officer, a police surgeon, a public prosecutor and a medical expert on the suspected cause of death has to look into the case to give its opinion on whether the medical practitioner could be held responsible for negligence.

In the case of Denny’s death, the DMO is yet to receive a request for investigating the case.

As the probe takes its own time, the family of the deceased have no option but to wait for justice.

“Denny’s parents are deeply mourning his death. We would like to know as soon as possible the exact cause and chain of events that led to his death in the operation theatre,” said Joseph Kochumman, a relative of the deceased.

Drive to nab morning tipplers

Motorists in the district are used to the sight of police officers with breath analysers stopping them on the road after nightfall to check whether they have been drinking. But the Ernakulam Rural Police launched a drive to nab those who may have otherwise escaped the police net – early morning tipplers.

The police were out on the streets in the Ernakulam police district on Monday between 6.30 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. to catch those drivers who decided to sip a little booze before heading out for work. But who wakes up and drinks liquor first thing in the morning, you may ask. The 32 drivers who landed in the police net, as it turns out. Police registered cases against 18 private bus drivers, two KSRTC bus drivers, five tipper lorry drivers, and others during the drive. Some of those charged were driving while hung over from heavy drinking the previous night.

“There have been several complaints about unsafe driving in public vehicles. We found many instances of drunk driving this early in the morning. We’ll continue the drive in the coming days,” said S. Sateesh Bino, District Police Chief.

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