Priya's death: Madras HC refuses bail to doctors

Justice AD Jagadish Chandira rejected the petitions filed by the doctors on the grounds that the investigation was at an early stage. The doctors submitted that they have to appear before the departmental inquiry committee to disclose their positions in this case
Madras High Court
Madras High Court

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Friday rejected the anticipatory bail petitions of doctor A Paul Ramshankar and doctor K Somasundar who were booked by the Greater Chennai City Police for causing the death of Chennai-based woman footballer R Priya due to medical negligence.

Justice AD Jagadish Chandira rejected the petitions filed by the doctors on the grounds that the investigation was at an early stage. The doctors submitted that they have to appear before the departmental inquiry committee to disclose their positions in this case.

Representing the doctors, advocate S Xavier Felix submitted that his clients have conducted several surgeries in a successful way. He further noted that after conducting the surgery for Priya, the doctors have done two other surgeries successfully.

The petitioners also expressed their anxiety that they are having a threat to their life. The doctors assured that they would cooperate with the investigation, would not tamper with the evidence, and abide by the conditions of the court.

Rejecting those submissions, the judge observed that if they have fears, the petitioners shall better surrender before the police as the state will provide security to them.

State Public Prosecutor Hassan Mohammed Jinnah objected to anticipatory bail submitting that there are certain lapses identified in the medical procedure adopted by the petitioners and the investigation is undergoing.

“The fact whether the incident is a medical negligence or criminal act could be decided only after the investigation, ” the PP submitted and requested the judge to adjourn the matter for two weeks.

Recording the submissions, the judge observed that the incident happened recently and the investigation is still underway. Therefore, he could be in a position to adjourn the matter for a couple of weeks if the petitioners are ready to surrender in the meantime.

The court also expressed its concern stating that it is a serious issue a girl lost her life after she was admitted for ligament tears. While adjourning the matter, the court ordered the police not to harass the family members of the doctors. As the doctors’ lawyer pointed out that his clients are receiving threats, the judge also wanted the police to ensure the safety of the petitioners.

A college student and a football player, Priya underwent a procedure for a ligament tear at Periyar Nagar Government Peripheral Hospital.

Since she had complications, Priya again underwent an arthroscopic ligament repair procedure on her right knee at Periyar Nagar Government Peripheral on November 7.

She suffered complications due to medical negligence and her right leg was amputated. Later, she was shifted to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital where she died on November 15 due to multiple organ failure.

City Police had booked the doctors under Section 174 of the IPC - a case of unnatural death. However, after the Directorate of Medical Education’s report revealed that it was due to a medical lapse, the police altered the case under section 304-A of IPC.

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