Kerala: Doctor performs surgery on child's tongue instead of finger; suspended

07:39 PM May 16, 2024 | PTI |

A doctor has been suspended after the wrong surgery was performed on a four-year-old girl at the Government Medical College Hospital here on Thursday.


The child had been scheduled for surgery to remove a sixth finger on her hand at the Maternal and Child Care Centre of the Medical College Hospital, instead of which an operation was performed on her tongue mistakenly.

The girl’s family alleged that the error came to light when they discovered cotton stuffed in the child’s mouth post-surgery, prompting them to investigate further.

Upon closer inspection, they found that the surgery had been performed on her tongue, not on her hand as intended.

As the issue created an uproar in Kerala, the state government initiated action, suspending Associate Professor Dr Bejohn Johnson, pending an inquiry.


Health Minister Veena George announced the decision to suspend the doctos after receiving a report from the Director of Medical Education, who was asked to conduct an immediate investigation into the incident earlier in the day.

An official statement said the minister has also directed that a detailed inquiry is conducted and further action taken.

George has given strict directives to the hospitals to ensure that protocols are followed correctly, it said.

Meanwhile, the family has lodged a complaint with the police, seeking action against those responsible for the grave error.

”No one should have such an experience again at the Medical College Hospital,” the child’s family said. They said that the child had no issue with her tongue.

The family also said the hospital authorities should take responsibility if any adverse consequences arise for the child due to this procedure.

”The hospital authorities informed us that it was a mistake as they had scheduled surgery for two children on the same date,” a family member said.

A family member said the doctor had apologised to the family for the error.

Expressing shock over the incident, Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Assembly V D Satheesan said it was ”serious medical malpractice” and sought strict disciplinary action against those responsible for it.

”Presently, the government’s actions seem to undo the progress Kerala has achieved in the health sector over the years,” he said in a statement here.

Satheesan alleged that the credibility of government hospitals is being questioned due to repeated medical errors.

”Apart from just asking for a report right away, what steps has the health department and the minister taken to address each incident? This isn’t the first problem at Kozhikode Medical College,” he pointed out, recalling the case of Harshina, who protested after a device got stuck in her stomach during surgery.”


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