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Death of footballer: Court refuses to give anticipatory bail or grant any protection to doctor

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The Madras High Court has refused to give orders for the anticipatory bail to the two doctors who have been booked for the recent death of teen footballer R Priya from Tamil Nadu.

Justice AD Jagdish Chandira said that although the committee constituted by the State government is yet to give its report on investigation, he would adjourn the hearing by two weeks.

The judge said orally that he would not grant any relief at present, since it is a recent case and the investigating agency are doing their work.

The State government has been instructed to ensure that the family members of the two doctors was not troubled.

The Court said that state must ensure that the family is not harassed. We live in a society where a doctor who was treating corona patients died. His family was not even allowed to give him a decent burial,

The Court cited 2020 incident in Chennai where a 55-year-old neurosurgeon, Simon Hercules, succumbed to COVID-19 from one of his patients. His family was attacked near the burial ground by locals who falsely  believed that the dead body could lead to the spread of the virus.

The Footballer in question, Priya died of multiple organ failure at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai on November 15,after she developed complications owing to medical negligence by doctors at the Government Peripheral Hospital at Periyar Nagar.

The two doctors – Paul Ramashankar and Somasundar – both 34 years old, were detained by the police and subsequently suspended by the hospital following the incident.

The doctors denied any negligence on their part and approached the High Court seeking protection from arrest.

Public Prosecutor Hasan Mohammad told the Court that although the inquiry committee report is still in process, the preliminary findings say that the two doctors did not understand reasons for the extreme pain and numbness that Priya complained of post her arthroscopic surgery to repair her torn ligament. 

 Jinnah told the Court tat it was wrong on part of these doctors to not inform the senior if they could not relieve pain.

Advocates S Xavier Felix and F Camillus who appeared for the two doctors said that there had not been any lapses on their clients’ part. They also said that they were willing to surrender if the Court ensured police protection.

One of the counsel said We are ready to surrender, but my life will be under threat. A gynaecologist doctor was murdered in 2011. My family members were taken to the police station and kept there. My mother-in-law and father-in-law were taken to the police station.  If I am given protection I am ready to surrender,”

The petitioners said the matter gained a lot of political mileage, as the Chief Minister too has been speaking on this and many have visited the family of the player. The doctors have been receiving threat calls from random people. 

Dr Ramshankar further said that he did not perform surgery on the deceased, but was only there to assist Dr Somasundar. He left at 3 pm after completing his duty for the day.

Dr Somasundar who is one of the accused said that she had performed over 300 successful orthopaedic surgeries and around 100 knee/hip replacement surgeries. 

The Court, said that the duty of doctor cannot end with the duty hours only,he cannot say my hours were over and hence did not know what happened to their patient.

It added that whether to voluntarily surrender or not was a choice that the two doctors had to make, and that it was not inclined to grant any protection to the them.

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