Special Correspondent

Protesters lay siege to private hospital

Relatives of the woman allege medical negligence
Compensation paid to next of kin of the deceased

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Tension prevailed at Killipalam for hours on Monday morning when local people staged a sit-in with the body of a woman who died while undergoing treatment at a private hospital. Accusing the hospital management of negligence in treatment, the relatives of K.G. Anilakumari (40) said she had died of infection following a hysterectomy. They said she had been referred to a neighbouring hospital after her condition worsened.

With the local people gathering in strength, the district administration and the police intervened to prevent the situation from getting out of control. Revenue Divisional Officer K.V. Mohankumar, Mayor C. Jayan Babu and V. Sivankutty, MLA, held talks with the hospital authorities and the relatives of the woman in a bid to defuse the tension. The protesters alleged that Anilakumary had been discharged from the hospital before the infection was brought under control. They claimed that the hospital had referred her to another private hospital instead of the Medical College Hospital.

The protesters dispersed after the RDO issued a directive to the police to investigate the medico-legal case. He directed them to ensure the presence of a team of doctors during the post-mortem examination to be held as part of the police inquest. The hospital administration also agreed to issue a compensation of Rs.3 lakh to the relatives of Anilakumary. A cheque written in the name of her two daughters was handed over in presence of the MLA and the Mayor. The body was later shifted to the mortuary at the Medical College Hospital.

Hospital clarifies

Medical Director of the St. Jude Hospital Dr. Eapen Varghese said in a statement that Anilakumary had been under treatment for two years at the Government Hospital for Women and Children before she was admitted to the St. Jude Hospital on June 19.

The statement said doctors had confirmed medical fitness before the hysterectomy on June 20. She was discharged on June 23 only to be readmitted the next day with chest pain.

Mr. Varghese said the patient was referred to the neighbouring PRS Hospital which was equipped with a critical care unit.