Home Health News Kozhikode Medical Hospital Surgery Mishap: Doctor Mistakenly Operates On Tongue

Kozhikode Medical Hospital Surgery Mishap: Doctor Mistakenly Operates On Tongue

Kerala News: The family of a four-year-old girl in Kerala has alleged serious medical negligence at Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, prompting the initiation of an investigation. According to her relatives, the child visited the hospital for the removal of an additional finger on one of her hands, but was instead subjected to a surgery on her tongue, reports said.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George is reported to have has ordered an immediate investigation by the Director of Medical Education.

According to reports, the girl had polydactyly condition and had been admitted to the Kozhikode hospital for the removal of a sixth finger on her hand. 

“We were told that it (sixth finger) could be removed through a minor surgery so we agreed. A while later, when the child was wheeled back, we were surprised to see the girl’s mouth was in bandages. We did not know what happened. When we checked her hand, the sixth finger was still there,” a relative of the girl was quoted as saying in an IANS report. 

The relative added: “We informed the nurse and, when she heard it, she was smiling. We were told that there was a problem with her tongue too, and that was rectified. Soon, the doctor came and apologised for the mistake and said the sixth finger will be removed, and took the child away.”

The hospital management admitted to the “mistake” of carrying out the tongue surgery without her family’s consent, but said the operation would “benefit” her, according to a report in Onmanorama.com. The report said the girl was also diagnosed with a medical condition called ‘tongue-tie’, and the doctor on duty decided to operate on her tongue before the surgery scheduled to remove the sixth finger. 

Quoting Dr Arun Preet, the superintendent of the Institute of Maternal and Child Health at the hospital, said: “…the child will only benefit from the procedure. When the doctor noted tongue-tie in the child, he first corrected that before doing surgery to remove the sixth finger.”

He added: “We admit that there was a communication error and we will investigate that. There were 16 operations scheduled for the day.”

The child’s family, however, said there was no problem with her tongue, and alleged that the hospital told them it was a mistake because “they had scheduled surgery for two children on the same date”. The Manorama report said the child’s family could lodge a police complaint seeking action against the alleged negligence.

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Another Case Of Medical Negligence

The hospital had come under scrutiny earlier also when another case of alleged negligence was reported. The case involved a woman named Harshina, in her 30s, who staged a protest last year after discovering that doctors had left a pair of scissors in her abdomen following a C-section in 2017. According to reports, Harshina demanded justice saying she had endured five years of pain with the scissors inside her, leading to significant personal and financial strain, as her husband had to wind up his business due to her ill health.

After an investigation, it was establised that a pair of medical scissors was indeed left in the woman’s stomach during the surgery, and the district medical board had agreed that it was an instance of “medical negligence”, according to an August 2023 report on Onmanorama.com.  

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