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Mystery Unsolved: Sunanda Pushkar’s death case stirs fresh controversy

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Sunanda Pushkar’s death stirred another controversy on Tuesday, as All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) sought permission from Delhi High Court to replace its forensic department head Dr. Sudhir Kumar Gupta. The doctor had alleged that he was pressurized to give a false report on the death of Sunanda Pushkar as directed by Dr M C Misra, director of AIIMS.

On May 28, 2015, Gupta had written a letter to Union Health Minister, J P Nadda, alleging that the forensic team was asked to declare the death of Sunanda Pushkar as natural, adding that the team had taken principled and professional stand in the autopsy and not succumbing to pressure.

“I was asked by Dr. Misra to give a postmortem report of late Sunanda Pushkar as natural death, which was contrary to the findings,” he said in the letter, as reported by Times of India.

He also alleged a “tacit understanding” between AIIMS director Dr Misra and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor to fabricate a “tailor-made” postmortem report.

The newspaper reported that Dr Adarsh Kumar, a member of the board of doctors which conducted the postmortem (of Sunanda Pushkar), has also written to the health minister supporting Dr. Gupta. He reportedly claimed that the board was asked to state the manner of death as “natural.”

However, AIIMS has rejected the allegations stating, “The institute would like to categorically state that there was no extraneous pressure ever on Dr. Gupta with regard to his medical opinion for any case. Allegations being leveled against the institute in the media by Prof. Gupta in this regard are baseless and denied.”

On Tuesday, the AIIMS administration sought the permission of the High Court to appoint Dr. D N Bhardwaj as the new head of its Forensic Medicine and Toxicology Department, replacing Dr. Sudhir Gupta.

The High Court on March 25 had issued an order directing AIIMS to take its permission before replacing Gupta.

As per the newspaper’s report, the decision was taken, considering Gupta’s plea challenging a Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order rejecting his charge that Dr. O P Murty was promoted after purging his seniority with the purpose of obtaining a “tailor-made report” in the Sunanda Pushkar case.

CAT rubbished Gupta’s claim and rejected the allegation of interference made against Tharoor. It said the “email sent by Shashi Tharoor, then Union Minister, to Dr. Rajiv Bhasin, on January 26, 2014, and the notice dated June 2, 2014 issued by Dr. Adarsh Kumar, member secretary, Medical Board, AIIMS, do not reveal anything to show that any pressure was put on the applicant to submit a tailor-made autopsy report in Sunanda Pushkar’s case.”

Here is the timeline of the events that unfolded since Pushkar’s death:

January 17, 2014: Sunanda Pushkar, wife of former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Hotel Leela Palace in New Delhi.

January 19: The doctors who conducted postmortem at AIIMS stated that it appeared to be a case of “sudden, unnatural death”, and that she had “certain injuries on the body.” The autopsy board included Dr. Adarsh Kumar and a senior resident in the department, Dr. Shashank Puniya.

January 21: The Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM) Alok Sharma who was heading the enquiry, had said in his report that Pushkar died of poisoning and had asked police to probe into the cause of poisoning.

January 23: Investigators were believed to have found that she died of “hidden poisoning” as traces of two medicines, Alprazolam and Excedrin, were found in her body.

July 01: Dr. Sudhir Kumar Gupta, who headed the panel that conducted the postmortem filed an affidavit before Central Administrative Tribunal, challenging an order to remove him from the post of head of forensic medicine. He alleged bias against him for succumbing to pressure from “top officials of the institute and then senior Congress ministers” to fabricate Pushkar’s post mortem report.

July 2: The then Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan sought a detailed report on the specific allegations leveled by the doctor.

October 10: The latest post mortem report submitted to AIIMS was leaked that stated the cause of death as “poisoning.” Delhi police was asked to ‘re-examine’ the case, following the revelation.

January 6, 2015: A year after Sunanda Pushkar’s death, Delhi Police confirmed that she was murdered, with the medical board calling her death ‘unnatural.’

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First Indian doctor in last 5 years and Ex AIIMS head M C Misra Awarded honorary fellowship of prestigious Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

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Former AIIMS Director and internationally renowned surgeon M.C. Misra. VOA

New Delhi, May 24, 2017: Former AIIMS Director and internationally renowned surgeon M.C. Misra has been awarded the honorary fellowship of prestigious Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, a first for an Indian doctor in the last five years.

The announcement was made on Tuesday evening.

“It is with great pleasure, we write on behalf of Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh to invite you to accept the award of fellowship ad hominem (Honorary fellowship),” reads the letter for Misra to convey the honor by the premier organization.

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The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is an organization dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and advancement in surgical practice, through its interest in education, training, and examinations, its liaison with external medical bodies and representation of the modern surgical workforce.

The Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh is one of the oldest surgical corporations in the world and traces its origins to 1505 when the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh were formally incorporated as a craft guild of Edinburgh.

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Today, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is an international network with a membership of almost 20,000, in almost 100 countries.

Misra, also a globally renowned trauma expert, retired on January 31, 2017 after serving All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) as its director for more than three years. (IANS)

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Girl born with a rare medical condition, heart outside body in Madhya Pradesh

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A child with the parents (representational image), VOA

Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh):  A girl, born in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh with a rare medical condition with her heart abnormally located outside the chest, has been shifted to AIIMS in New Delhi for treatment, an official said on Sunday.

The baby girl was born with a rare congenital medical condition called Ectopia Cordis in which the heart is abnormally located either partially or totally outside of the thorax.

This rare medical condition occurs in eight children per 10 lakh births.

Dr Lakhan Tiwari, Pediatrician at Chhatarpur district hospital, told IANS that the girl was born on April 5 at Khajuraho Health Centre in the district.

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She was brought to the district hospital from where she was referred to the AIIMS.

Dr R.S. Tripathi, Civil Surgeon, Chhatarpur district, said: “The heart is covered by bones and skin in the human body but in this case though her heart was formed completely during embryonic development, the body wall could not mature properly.”

He said: “Keeping in mind the infant’s serious condition, the infant was sent to the All India Institute of Meidcal Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi along with a doctor.” (IANS)

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Can a Patient without Donors advertise for Transplantation?

Delhi High court was faced with the question; Can a common citizen without a donor for transplantcan use the help of media to advertise for his/her cause?

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Doctors (representational Image), Pixabay

New Delhi, Mar 4, 2017:  Can the authorities allow a person who has no family donor to advertise to get a volunteer for a kidney transplant? This is a question on which the Delhi High Court looked for the views of the government on Feb 28, this year.

The patient who raised the issue drew the attention of the court to the fact that it is easy in case of celebrities or well-known public figures to get volunteer donors because of media attention but common citizens do not have a right to avail the benefit of such media advertisements.

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Seized with the matter, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, asked the Ministry for Family Health and Welfare to look into various aspects related to the transplantation of kidney raised by the petitioner.

According to PTI reports, The judge also sought the opinion of the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO), the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and  the apex centre for registry, procurement and distribution of organs and tissues on the plea of the patient who has narrated his ordeal of 15 long years.

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NOTTO’s response was sought as the patient has prayed for scrapping of the body which maintains a registry of donations and transplantation of tissues and organs.

The patient named Vinod Kumar Anand, has suffered the loss of both of his kidneys and the one donated by his wife due to renal problems.

During the hearing, the patient’s advocate, Ashok Aggarwal, was asked by the court to explore the possibility of kidney exchange between his family and that of someone else who also required the organ.

Kidney exchange or ‘swap’ is a simple barter system in which a swap pair consists of a recipient (patient) and a donor (a family member). A swap transplant like this involves an exchange of organs between two families, who cannot donate the organ to their own family member due to the mismatch of a blood group.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang