Thiruvananthapuram | Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday urged Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to put in place safeguards against cases of gross medical negligence in the state.
The Wayanad MP also sought an effective grievance redressal system to deal with such matters so that victims do not have to take to the streets for justice.
The request was made by Gandhi in connection with the incident of forceps accidentally left inside a woman's stomach after surgery due to alleged medical negligence by the doctors of a government medical college in Kozhikode.
In a letter to Vijayan, the MP also urged the government to look into the demands of the woman -- Harshina K K -- and offer her adequate compensation "in light of the unique circumstances of the case" in addition to the Rs 2 lakh already given to her.
"I would also like to request you to kindly put in place adequate safeguards against such cases of gross medical negligence and establish effective grievance redressal systems so that victims are not forced to take to the streets for justice," Gandhi said in the letter.
The Congress leader said that Harshina, who belongs to his constituency, has been battling long-term health problems allegedly "due to the shocking medical negligence during a surgery she underwent at the Kozhikode Medical College in 2017".
He said that when he met Harshina and her family during his recent visit to Kerala and learnt of their plight, he was "deeply saddened".
"I was deeply saddened to learn about her tremendous pain and mental agony of living with the repercussions of the medical negligence for over five years. Her ordeal has also taken a huge emotional and financial toll on her family. She has submitted a representation to me," he said.
Gandhi also posted the letter along with a tweet on social media platform X.
He tweeted that the woman was living a miserable life since 2017 due to the alleged medical negligence and that he has sent a letter to the Kerala CM for sympathetically considering her demands and providing adequate compensation to her as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the woman continued her protest outside the state secretariat demanding action against those accused of medical negligence and Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan joined her agitation.
The Kerala police in its probe into the incident had found alleged medical negligence on the part of the doctors of the government medical college.
The police launched the investigation following a complaint by the woman alleging that she faced health complications after undergoing a caesarean at the Government Medical College hospital here in 2017.
However, a medical board has reportedly rejected the findings of the police.
Harshina, the 30-year-old woman from Kozhikode, had filed the complaint seeking a probe in October last year.
The woman had undergone her third caesarean at the medical college in November 2017, with her earlier two C-sections performed in different private hospitals.
On September 17, 2022, the doctors of Kozhikode Medical College conducted a major surgery on Harshina, who was suffering from severe pain, to remove a mosquito artery forceps that had been in her stomach for the past five years. The mosquito artery forceps is a scissor-like piece of equipment used by surgeons to clamp bleeding vessels during surgeries.
The medical college officials had initially denied any negligence, citing her previous caesareans in private hospitals. However, the police's findings had prompted the authorities to constitute a medical board for further investigation.