The Supreme Court Advocates On Record Association (SCAORA) has passed a Resolution seeking time-bound enquiry into the allegations of medical negligence on the premises of Supreme Court which led to the death of 80 year old lawyer, SK Dhingra.
Taking note of the developments from July 8, when Mr. Dhingra suffered a cardiac arrest in his chambers and succumbed to the same after the government dispensary within the Court premises was unable to provide him with medication or send him a doctor, SCAORA states that this is "an utter failure of the Supreme Court administration and security."
Subsequent to a meeting of the Executive Committee, on July 9, a demand has been made to competent authorities to ensure penal action against concerned officers who are found to be erring, as per findings of the enquire.
"SCAORA calls upon the competent authority to immediately hold a time-bound enquiry against the concerned officers in the Supreme Court administration, the Supreme Court security and the government dispensary within the Supreme Court premises, and to take strict penal action, including prosecution for criminal negligence and dismissal from service, against the erring officers."
SCAORA has further expressed concern that the Supreme Court premises lack a well-equipped medical emergency facility and has demanded for the same to be set up at the earliest.
Averring to the circumstances leading to the death of Mr Dhingra, SCAORA has demanded that a Standard Operating Procedure be put in place and that security be sensitized to deal with situations involving medical emergencies.
"SCAORA notes that the Supreme Court does not even have a state-of art Emergency Medical Facility within its premises for the benefit of the Advocates. SCOARA demands that such Facility be set up and a Standard Operative Procedure be laid down immediately so that no person passes away within the Supreme Court premises awaiting basic medical treatment. SCAORA further demands that the Supreme Court security be directed to be of assistance during an emergency medical situation within the Supreme Court premises."
80 year old lawyer, Mr SK Dhingra, passed away on the July 8, after suffering from a cardiac arrest within the Supreme Court premises. It is alleged that he was unable to avail any kind of medical assistance from the government dispensary situated within the premises as it did not have required medicines, or even a doctor present.
Mr Dhingra was in his chambers within the Supreme Court premises, where he suffered a cardiac arrest. His clerk immediately called the Supreme Court Dispensary, but was informed that no doctor was available there. The Clerk also called Mr. Dhingra's daughter, advocate Shefali Mitra, who rushed to Court.
On her way, she repeatedly dialed the Emergency clinic asking for a doctor to be sent to his chamber immediately, or provide the patient with Sorbitrate, the medication used as an emergency drug when there's a heart related issue. But no such relief was available as the clinic was unequipped to meet her requests.
Upon reaching Supreme Court, she tried to enter the premises from Gate B, which was the nearest gate on her route, but was not allowed to do so by the guards on duty since that Gate is a designated 'Exit' gate, not meant for entry of cars. Despite apprising security of the emergency, they were not persuaded to break protocol and asked her to drive in through the other gate. The said other gate is a bend away with a traffic signal on the way, which usually experiences a great deal of traffic.
Mitra got off the car and walked in through gate B while her husband took the car around the busy road to enter from the other gate.
Upon reaching the chambers, she noticed that the ambulance which is usually parked outside was not there. The driver had parked the ambulance at another place, she was informed. Her efforts to contact the driver also went in vain, as he would not answer multiple calls made to him.
Now, while there is no access to an ambulance, the staff at the dispensary informed Mitra that in the absence of required medication or a doctor within the premises, Mr Dhingra would need to be shifted to the nearest medical facility. There are no available means to do so, and no stretcher around.
While some lawyers and clerks looked on from a distance, one advocate tried to help Mitra put her father in a wheelchair and put him into the car. However, Mr Dhingra suffered a third stroke and passed away before he could be put in the car.
The advocate who practiced for over 50 years, died on the premises of the country's highest Court, without any form of medical assistance being available to him for almost an hour. His death raises grave concerns on the preparedness of the Top Court to handle medical emergencies, and the lack of sensitization of the staff deployed in the Court premises. Despite nominal infrastructure being in place, the lack of emergency medical services and administration of the Supreme Court must bear the responsibility of Mr. Dhingra's passing.
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