CHENNAI:A 35-year-old woman who was at the centre of a medical negligence controversy that rocked bariatric surgeons in the city, passed away at 4.35 am at a private nursing home in Kodambakkam, nine months after a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.
The relatives have opted to have a post-mortem done, possibly to strengthen their ongoing claim of medical negligence with the private hospital in question. The autopsy was conducted at the Government Royapettah Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, where close to 50 women associated with the woman’s family staged a protest demanding justice for her death.
Amudha Gowrishankar was operated on, on August 11, 2014, following which she experienced abdominal pain and needed two more procedures in the months following the surgery. Her husband and relatives registered a case against Dr M Maran, the surgeon who operated on her. After a few very public protests outside Bharathiraja Hospital, the medical fraternity rallied behind the surgeon and held a public meeting explaining that there had been no negligence.
The doctors blamed the victim for lifting weights - she and her husband ran a pottery store in Nungambakkam - and working out in a nearby gym and also did not eat right after the surgery.
The victim’s husband Gowrishankar, told Express that his wife had suffered from the day the surgery was done, despite doctors’ assurances there would be no complications on two separate occasions. “We went to a private hospital. There they told us that a surgical cotton pad had been left inside causing an infection. I will not let this matter go and I will appeal to the CM to take action in this matter and punish the doctors,” said Gowrishankar.
On Tuesday, he said they would pursue the matter after the autopsy results were out. “She was only 85 kg. That’s not even fat but the doctor brainwashed her into getting the surgery and she forced me to say yes.”
At least seven other cases of patients dying after elective abdominal surgery have been reported - with relatives crying foul - but haven’t pursued their claims legally.
what weight loss surgery entails
Weight loss through bariatic surgery is achieved by either reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band or through removal of a portion of the stomach or by resecting and re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch.