… for the death of his three-year-old son

Medical: An aggrieved father has written to the Bhutan Medical and Health Council requesting to review the emergency medical service provided to his late three-year-old son on May 21.

The 36-year-old father Dorji Rinchen had sent copies of the letter to concerned officials and the media. In the letter he alleges that his son died following surgery at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu.

He is yet to hear from the  hospital and the Bhutan Medical and Health Council.

Dorji Rinchen, questions the medical treatment provided to his late son. He claims that inefficient procedures were followed during the treatment.

He alleges negligence on the part of the surgery team claiming that most of the health practitioners appeared to be young trainees.

The parents of the boy had rushed him to the referral hospital in Thimphu to seek medical help after an Alto car hit him on the leg near Changankha Lhakhang crushing his lower left limb on may 21.

The same day, a team of surgeons operated on the boy.

Dorji Rinchen said that after five hours of surgery, his son had recovered and communicated well.

After the first operation, the doctor and the surgeons told the father that the operation was successful and their son would recover. “The doctor told me that the crush injury is severe and at the worst they may have to remove his limb,” Dorji Rinchen said.

Nevertheless, the doctor assured the parents that nothing would happen to their son.

The boy was operated on again the next day after which the child who was in stable condition initially, deteriorated and then succumbed to the injury, 33 hours after being brought to the hospital, he added.

“It is hard to believe that my son died just because of the crush injury on his left lower limb,” Dorji Rinchen said. “Even in extreme cases, the injured part is amputated. The patient doesn’t die.”

While Dorji Rinchen will not pursue legal action against the surgeons, hehopes that the council  investigates the case to avoid such incidents in future to prevent further loss of life if negligence was involved.

The driver of the Alto car was detained and remanded to court last month.

“When the doctor told me and my wife that nothing will happen to our son, we trusted that our son was in good hands,” Dorji Rinchen said.

Meanwhile, Bhutan Medical and Health Council (BMHC) is investigating the case.

BMHC registrar, Sonam Dorji, said that the council had asked the surgery team for their statements. The surgeons have to operate on many patients daily so the council expects to receive their statements after a week or two, Sonam Dorji said.

Of the many surgeries occurring in the hospital, there may be one or two casualties because there is always a risk in surgery and that is why a relative is required to sign a consent form that authorises the doctor to perform the surgery, Sonam Dorji said. “In surgery, there is certain degree of unpredictability.”

Nevertheless, the council will look into the case to see if the team had followed right medical procedures and if there were any lapses Sonam Dorji added.

The council had discussed the case during its ethical committee meeting  recommending to gather more information. The registrar said that the committee would respond to the complainant after another round of meeting.

The council will write to the referral hospital in Thimphu and the people concerned if any lapses are found during the investigation, Sonam Dorji said. “We will streamline the system if there are any lapses in it.”

Sonam Dorji pointed out that the council is independent of the health ministry and the case will be independently investigated.

Dechen Tshomo