It was a rather happy evening for Arjun Jawalkar on 25th Feb 2015. He and his son, Arnav were watching Chota Bheem on the TV in the PICU ward of the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. Arnav was admitted to the hospital on 3rd Feb 2015. His health was critical and he had to be admitted to the PICU ward on the 8th floor. A few days later doctors said that his blood and x-ray reports were looking satisfactory. Everything was looking hopeful until Arjun went to use the washroom. When he returned what he saw would be the start of possibly the most devastating hours of his life.
On returning from the washroom Arjun saw that his son, Arnav was lying on his side unconscious. Arnav’s ventilator mask was not on. A nurse of the hospital was standing in the corner of the room. He ran to find the doctor on shift, Dr. Saleha. He was told that Dr. Saleha wasn’t available. In desperation he ran to the doctors bunker room to find that she was there sleeping. He woke her up and told her of the emergency. The doctor and some nurses then went to attend the child. After some time, the doctor delivered a news no father would ever want to hear, that they couldn’t save his son.
Even Dr. Preetha Joshi, another doctor in the pediatric unit of the hospital, said that the death of Arnav was unexpected. The events leading up to this sad day were posted by Arnav’s mother, Archana Jawalkar on Facebook in a post demanding answers from the hospital authorities. In her post she mentions that their son was diagnosed with severe Pneumonia. Everything was going fine until the night of 25th Feb when the nurse refused to sedate Arnav so he could sleep. Archana says that the sedation was a regular procedure. She even asked the nurse to sedate Arnav. That night the nurse tried to put Arnav to sleep, Arnav didn’t go to sleep. So the sister decided to lay him down on his stomach and patted him on his back. Arnav was asthmatic and the mother said that lying on stomach and the patting on his back was “dangerous for him”. The reports from the hospital say that the cause of death was ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) along with the severe pneumonia. But they found out later from a news article (name unknown) that the reason for Arnav’s death was H1N1 or Swine Flu.
The mother is now accusing the nurse that was in the room for negligence, as when the father returned to the room, the nurse didn’t move from her place and was looking shocked. There is no CCTV camera in the room so these events cannot be reviewed. Nor can we know what happened in the room when the father wasn’t there. The lack of CCTV in PICU shows sloppiness on the management’s part. On inquiring Dr. Saleha about the reason the nurse was laying Arnav on his stomach, she said that it was impossible to do. The father, who was present at the time nurse was doing this, however has a different story. The parents request to confront the nurse was refused. The Facebook post also mentions that the nurse when finally confronted clearly refused that she turned Arnav and patted his back.
This story leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Is the hospital trying to shield the staff from punishment? Was this really only an unfortunate accident? Why wasn’t there a doctor readily available for emergencies, especially in the PICU? The family of the deceased child is worried and baffled with what happened within the hospital and are demanding answers to these questions. We hope that the Hospital authorities do an investigation on this matter and answer the parents as soon as possible.