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Probing Medical Negligence Claims in Amit Kataria’s Death

Medical Negligence | Amid the turmoil of Amit's passing, unsettling questions about patient care rise to the surface. The case spotlights the delicate balance of trust and accountability in healthcare.

By Rageshree Sengupta
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In a heart-wrenching tale of lost potential, 22-year-old Amit Kataria, an upcoming musical sensation with accolades from prestigious institutions like Trinity College London, tragically lost his life after a car accident last May. His family has alleged that he died due to medical negligence. Amit, a resident of Sector 66 Gurugram, had been carving a niche for himself in the music industry with his exceptional prowess in rock and pop guitar. His talent was not only academic but also drew the admiration of world-renowned artists, with the likes of Celine Dion lauding his skills.

However, the joy and potential of this young musician met a tragic end. On the fateful evening of May 10th, 2022, after having dinner, Amit was parking his car when a mishap caused his vehicle to crash into a wall, behind which lay a generator set. "The entire front of the car lurched towards him. He was still wearing a seatbelt, so he didn't sustain a head injury. However, the impact of the steering wheel on his chest and a crushed knee were evident," recalls Atul Kataria, Amit’s devastated father.

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Atul shared the painful chronology of events of that evening, shedding light on his son's promising career that was tragically cut short allegedly due to medical negligence. "On that day, his exams were over, and he received excellent results. He was preparing to return to the UK, having even booked his flight. Being a musician, he had a promising future in the UK and had garnered significant praise from greats like Celine Dion," said Atul.

Amidst the panic and confusion, as Amit was extricated from the wreck by nearly 20 individuals from his apartment complex, his mother attempted to call Artemis in Gurugram, the nearest hospital. To their dismay, Artemis reported no ambulance availability. It was a good Samaritan from the building who eventually transported Amit in his Innova to Artemis' Emergency and Trauma Centre. However, despite efforts, Amit could not be saved.

Amit was taken to the Artemis Hospital's Emergency Department at 9:50 p.m. on May 10th, 2022, only to be declared dead just two hours later. His father, Atul Kataria, voiced concerns over the treatment, alleging the medical team prioritised Amit's knee injuries over what he believes were critical chest injuries. "The doctors seemed to ignore all his chest injuries. They were looking at the limbs instead of the life-threatening injuries," said Atul.

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According to the grief-stricken father, the hospital staff failed to notice Amit's deteriorating condition until his mother pointed out swelling on his face and neck. "The doctor came, and they tore his t-shirt and saw the bruises on his chest, yet they did not conduct a chest X-ray," Atul lamented. Amidst the chaos, Atul recounted the confusion: "They said they would put him on a ventilator, and within ten minutes, he went into ventricular tachycardia and probably died."

The subsequent post-mortem disclosed a shocking revelation: Amit had fractures in 5 to 7 ribs on the left side of his chest. Even more alarming, the post-mortem discovered a litre of blood in his lung cavity and several broken bones, prompting Atul to question the competence of the attending doctors: "Why were there 6-7 broken bones, and you people didn't do the X-Ray?”

A District Medical Board for Negligence was formed to investigate the claims. Their report detailed the inexperience of the attending doctors. One revelation read: "Dr Saket Bhardwaj had recently joined as a junior resident in the surgery department and admitted he had never put a chest tube on his own." The report further commented on the tragic mishandling, stating that essential life-saving treatment was not administered during the crucial golden hour.

Highlighting the inexperience of the medical staff, Atul expressed his dismay: "The doctor who attended to my son had only 3 months of experience. What was he doing in the emergency? The person who did the ultrasound was a student. Dr. Paritosh Gupta, the only person on call, didn't come to the hospital at all.”

The report also detailed the administration of a DC shock by the OP doctors on Amit, without considering the severe ramifications it might have on a patient with fractured ribs. "The treating team kept applying force on the deceased’s chest and broken bones of the rib cage, which might have punctured the lungs to an irreparable extent," the report reads.

Drawing a conclusion, the report indicted the hospital's treating team for exhibiting "a lack of competence, inaction, and wanton indifference to their patient's safety." It further insinuated the potential liability of Artemis Hospital Gurugram's health authority for negligence in their direct duty of care towards the patient.

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Following the release of the report, an FIR was lodged against four doctors from the hospital. But Amit's family and their legal counsel lament that their journey for justice seems to be stagnating.

Atul Kataria's counsel, Prashant Vaxish, voiced strong concerns regarding the alleged medical negligence and the treatment administered to Amit. Highlighting the board's findings, he said, "The treating team of the hospital has exhibited a lack of competence, inaction and wanton indifference to their patient safety. Why are we going to the hospital if they cannot ensure the patient's safety?" 

The Probe reached out to Artemis hospital with a detailed questionnaire. The hospital in its response to us stated: "At Artemis Hospital, we take every aspect of patient care and safety extremely seriously. Mr. Amit Kataria met with a terrible car accident in the basement parking of his apartment. We left no stone unturned to save his life. We as a tertiary care hospital give our best to all our patients. Our emergency department follows strict Trauma protocol and is well supported by trained ER doctors who are capable enough to handle any life-threatening emergency situations. In this case patient was given best possible care and he was treated in accordance with the medical protocols. Since the matter is still under investigation, we will not be able to divulge further information in this regard".

The tragedy of Amit Kataria's untimely demise underpins the pressing concerns surrounding medical accountability. Amid the grieving family's pursuit of justice, the case emphasises the precarious line between medical duty and the sanctity of human life. For Amit’s family, their pursuit is twofold: seeking justice for a life lost too soon and challenging the systemic inertia, hoping that their ordeal may catalyse necessary reforms in the healthcare system.

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