Pune Porsche Crash Case: Sassoon General Hospital Is No Stranger To Controversies

Pune Porsche Crash Case: Sassoon General Hospital Is No Stranger To Controversies

This recent incident, in which the involvement of two doctors from Sassoon Hospital came out for allegedly manipulating the blood samples, has tarnished the image of the hospital

Indu BhagatUpdated: Tuesday, May 28, 2024, 03:50 PM IST
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Sassoon General Hospital | Anand Chaini

Sassoon General Hospital (SGH), a state-run tertiary care facility affiliated with BJ Medical College (BJMC), has been treating patients in Pune district and the peripheral areas for 160 years. However, due to administrative upheaval and internal politics, the hospital is facing a reputation downfall. In the recent Porsche crash case, where a minor boy allegedly knocked down two young techies while driving a luxury car under the influence of alcohol on May 19, the blood samples of the minor boy were allegedly changed by two senior doctors and a peon of the hospital. The Pune Police on Monday arrested the three for manipulating the blood samples.

“During the investigation, the police found that the doctors at Sassoon Hospital allegedly changed the minor accused’s blood sample while sending it for a forensic test to verify the alcohol presence in it. However, the Pune city police, as a preventive measure, had taken another sample of the boy in the evening on the same day (May 19), for DNA sampling,” Pune Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar said.

The Police Commissioner confirmed that Dr Ajay Taware, head of the hospital’s forensic medicine department, and Dr Shrihari Harnol, casualty medical officer, have been arrested for manipulating the blood samples. The doctors have been charged under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 467 (forgery), 201 (destruction of evidence), 213 (taking a gift or something else to screen an offender from punishment), 214 (offering a gift or restoration of property to screen an offender) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The police also arrested the peon, Atul Ghatkamble, for acting as a middleman and allegedly collecting ₹3 lakh from the teen's family, meant for the doctors to manipulate the blood samples.

SGH has seen a turbulent phase in the last few years. This recent incident, in which the involvement of two doctors from Sassoon Hospital came out for allegedly manipulating the blood samples, has tarnished the image of the hospital. In the past, many unsettling instances, such as the escape of drug kingpin Lalit Patil on October 2, 2023, and a rat-bite incident involving a patient admitted to the ICU, have brought disrepute to the hospital.

A source from the hospital revealed that SGH has become a place for all illegal activities. "Usually, it takes six hours to give the blood sample report if it is a Medico-Legal Case (MLC). At most, it may take a day, but not more than that if everything, including machinery and resources, is there. It also shows that the institute requires the appointment of good administration to operate the facility effectively," the source added.

The Free Press Journal tried to meet the dean of the hospital to ask questions about the current arrest of three people and their involvement, but the efforts went in vain as the dean, who was present in his office, refused to meet. The hospital staff, as well as the dean, made media personnel wait for more than three hours, and not only this but they did not give a clear brief about when he would be available. This incident clearly shows that the dean doesn’t want to speak on the ongoing controversy.

The situation at the hospital can be understood by the constant change of officials. In the last two years, the medical superintendent of SGH has been changed eight times. It all started with Dr Taware's departure. Dr Vijay Jadhav assumed the position initially and was replaced by Dr Bharati Daswani in July 2022. However, Dr Vijay Jadhav was again given the charge in March 2023 but was soon replaced by Dr Yellappa Jadhav. Dr Sunil Bhamre took over in August 2023, but his tenure was fleeting as Dr Kiran Kumar Jadhav swiftly took over the charge. Later, Dr Sanjeev Thakur assumed the position. He was removed following the sensational escape of drug cartel kingpin Lalit Patil from the hospital.

Besides this, the BJMC and SGH have a shortage of 644 personnel, with only 78 of the 172 sanctioned Class I and Class II positions filled. In addition, 104 nursing positions and 381 Class IV staff positions are vacant.

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