A doctor from Sangli was remanded to the custody of the local police in a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder that was registered against him based on the complaint lodged by the Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad Municipal Corporation (SMKC) after the hospital single-handedly recorded 87 deaths in 43 days.
The arrested man, identified as Dr Mahesh Bhimsen Jadhav, is a plastic surgeon and is the owner of Apexcare hospital, which is a Covid-19 dedicated hospital, according to officials of SKMC health department. A local court in Sangli has remanded him to seven days in police custody.
The hospital had over 200 admissions between April 14 and May 27, and 87 of these admissions have died in that period, according to local officials including the police, district collector office, and SKMC.
“When his anticipatory bail was rejected, we started looking for him in order to arrest him. We received information that he was on Pune highway, and we alerted the check-posts which were already in place for Covid-19 restrictions. As it turned out, his vehicle had been stopped at a check-post on the highway and fined for a violation under the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA). We found him in Kasegaon and arrested him there,” said Dixit Gedam, commissioner of Sangli police.
“Initially, a case under Section 188 and others of Indian Penal Code and Sections of National Disaster Management Act was registered but after looking at the number of deaths, section for culpable homicide not amounting to murder was also invoked against him,” said Nitin Kapadnis, commissioner, SKMC.
Upon investigation the police found that there were specialists like MD anaesthesia, MD medicine, MD lungs who were appointed to the hospital, but the treatment was being done by students of homeopathy who were instructed to provide opinion virtually and not in person, according to the police.
The hospital was found to be underequipped to handle the kind of case load that they were accepting. A police submission to the court during the custody remand hearing of the doctor states that the hospital had one malfunctioning ventilator and 10 bipap machines.
“A lot of patients started complaint that they did not have equipment even though the patients were told before admission that ventilators are available. There were complaints about inflated bills without explanation. The municipal corporation has sent him multiple notices and I had personally visited the hospital twice. But the complaints kept coming in even after all the warnings. The hospital was served with a notice for permit cancellation, and the permit was eventually cancelled,” said Kapadnis.
“The main reason behind the hospital landing on our radar is that the administration refused to send all their bills for audit, as the hospital was required to. Then it was seen that final year students and homeopathy students were working there,” said Dr Sunil Ambole, head of SKMC health department.