Forceps Left Inside Patient's Abdomen: GMC Kozhikode Medical Staff Granted Bail

The case involves leaving forceps inside a patient’s abdomen during a Caesarean section in 2017
The instrument, a mosquito artery forceps, is typically used to clamp bleeding vessels during surgeries. (Representational image: Pixabay)
The instrument, a mosquito artery forceps, is typically used to clamp bleeding vessels during surgeries. (Representational image: Pixabay)

In Kozhikode, a gynecologist and two nurses from Government Medical College (GMC) Kozhikode were granted bail by the Judicial First Class Magistrate Kunnamangalam after being accused of medical negligence. The case involves leaving forceps inside a patient’s abdomen during a Caesarean section in 2017.

The incident came to light when Harshina, a 30-year-old woman from Kozhikode, filed a complaint in October last year. She claimed she experienced health problems after her third C-section at GMC in November 2017. Her previous two C-sections had been done at private hospitals. On September 17, 2022, doctors at Kozhikode Medical College performed surgery on Harshina to remove the forceps that had been inside her abdomen for five years. The instrument, a mosquito artery forceps, is typically used to clamp bleeding vessels during surgeries.

Kerala police investigated the complaint and confirmed that the forceps were accidentally left inside Harshina’s abdomen after her surgery in 2017. The investigation identified two doctors and two nurses as responsible for this oversight. A senior police officer described the incident as an act of medical negligence.

Following the investigation, the District Government Pleader and prosecutor, K.N. Jayakumar, advised the medical college police to initiate criminal proceedings against the accused. Despite initial opposition from medical college teachers, who argued that the police action would cast doubt on all doctors and nurses, the police registered an FIR under Section 338 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), citing medical negligence.

Following the investigation, the District Government Pleader and prosecutor, K.N. Jayakumar, advised the medical college police to initiate criminal proceedings against the accused. 
 (Representational image: Unsplash)
Following the investigation, the District Government Pleader and prosecutor, K.N. Jayakumar, advised the medical college police to initiate criminal proceedings against the accused. (Representational image: Unsplash)

Three of the four accused—the professor of gynecology at GMC Manjeri and two nurses from GMC Kozhikode—received bail. However, the second doctor, now working at a private hospital, did not attend the hearing. The court, led by Judicial First Class Magistrate V.P. Abdul Sathar, demanded her presence at the next hearing on July 20.

Initially, GMC officials denied negligence, suggesting the forceps might have been left during one of Harshina's earlier C-sections at private hospitals. However, the police investigation and subsequent findings contradicted this, prompting the authorities to set up a medical board for further examination. The district medical board acknowledged that the forceps were indeed left inside Harshina during her surgery at the medical college, confirming the act of medical negligence. Yet, the board disagreed with the police’s conclusion about how the instrument got stuck.

Despite the medical board’s findings, the police sought further instructions from the state committee. The committee advised filing criminal proceedings and making arrests. This led to criticism from the teachers' association, which argued that no action should be taken until the facts were fully proven.

After the submission of the charge sheet, police arrested a doctor and two nurses, who were later released on bail. The City Police Commissioner of Kozhikode then requested permission from the DGP to prosecute the four accused. The charges against them carry penalties of up to two years in prison. The court has summoned the four health workers for further proceedings, with the next hearing scheduled for July 20.

(Input from various sources)

(Rehash/ Susmita Bhandary/MSM)

The instrument, a mosquito artery forceps, is typically used to clamp bleeding vessels during surgeries. (Representational image: Pixabay)
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