Representational Image
Representational Image

Mumbai: The radiology department of the BYL Nair hospital, which does as many as 30 MRIs in a day, was manned by a resident doctor when the horrific tragedy took place. Saurabh Lanjekar, who is just 24 years old, was present in the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) room on Saturday evening when a 32 year old man was sucked into the machine.

The civic-run hospital situated at Mumbai-Central does 30 MRIs daily. One MRI diagnosis takes at least 45 minutes; therefore, the MRI machine and the staff is working round the clock. A senior medical officer of the radiology department of the hospital, who did not wish to be named, stated that only one MRI machine is available in the hospital and that is clearly overloaded. If that were not enough, the department is also strapped for staff.

Senior Police Inspector Savalaram Agawane of Agripada police station said they were investigating whether any other senior doctor was also present at the time of the mishap; they will also look at the roster system that is in place and whether the shift change had resulted in a vacant slot.

However, the Dean of the hospital, Ramesh Bharmal, denies that there is any manpower shortage in the hospital and stated that last year itself the vacant posts had been filed. Bharmal added, “A short period inquiry will be held to check the negligence, till then all three of them – Saurabh Lanjekar, the resident doctor, ward boy Vitthal Chavan — a permanent employee working for the last five years in the radiology section — and a female helper named Sunita Surve, a contract employee, have been suspended.”

The radiology department source, who does not wish to be named, disclosed that 22 technicians work in the department on a rotational basis, while the total posts are 30. Hence eight posts are still vacant. However, given the patient overload, the staff requirement is of 40 technicians along with additional MRI machines.

The relatives of the deceased’s family have alleged that the incident happened due to the negligence of the resident doctor and the ward boy. Maru’s relative Harish Solanki, whose mother was the patient said, “The ward boy himself insisted that Maru could carry the cylinder into the MRI room as the machine was switched off.  He had said so when they questioned whether metal instruments were allowed inside the diagnosis room. Only, on his assurance, the deceased took the cylinder inside. But as soon as Maru entered the room he was sucked by the magnetic force of the MRI machine.”

Solanki further added that he and the ward boy tried to prise him out of the machine but Maru was bleeding heavily. He was rushed to the emergency ward, where he was declared dead in 10 minutes time. Even simple metal objects such as jewellery and clothes which have metallic zippers or buttons are not allowed inside the MRI room. Dean Bharmal added that the MRI room has an advisory notice warning people clearly not to take such dangerous items inside.

Amit Mhatre, an employee of the hospital who decides the shift timings of the ward boys in the Nair hospital, stated that they are to secure for bail for the ward boy who is been arrested. “There is no doubt that the hospital has manpower shortage issues; once our employee gets bail we will decide the further course of action — whether to go on a  strike or not,” Mhatre added. The Resident Doctors Association of the hospital remained unavailable for comment.

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