Protests after Indian footballer, 17, dies following botched surgery

Protesters outside Chennai hospital stage a sit-in protest after a footballer died following a knee surgery  (Screengrab/@NityaPandian)
Protesters outside Chennai hospital stage a sit-in protest after a footballer died following a knee surgery (Screengrab/@NityaPandian)

Protests broke out in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu after a teen football player died following an allegedly botched knee surgery.

R Priya, 17, died on Tuesday due to multi-organ failure, days after she underwent a surgery for a ligament tear in her right knee.

The family members of the teenager staged a sit-in protest in front of a government hospital in Chennai city and refused to leave demanding action against the doctors and hospital, alleging negligence.

Videos of the protest showed the parents crying as several people, including students and relatives of the girl, chanting slogans “arrest doctors” and “medical negligence”.

The protesters blocked an ambulance from taking the body of the girl from the hospital to her home in Periyar Nagar.

On Tuesday, the two doctors who performed the surgery were suspended on charges of medical negligence after an internal inquiry found them guilty.

On 7 November, Priya underwent an arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure, at the Government Peripheral Hospital in Periyar Nagar, her hometown, after complaining of pain due to a ligament tear on her right leg, PTI news agency reported.

However, her condition worsened a day after her discharge and she was taken to the state-run Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital where doctors performed an amputation of her right limb on 9 November.

The doctors blamed Periyar Nagar hospital for putting on a tourniquet, a tight compression bandage, on her knee longer than required that stopped the blood flow.

Her condition did not improve following the amputation and doctors performed another surgery on 14 November. Priya died on Tuesday morning from organ failure.

Her death sparked outrage among her family members and relatives, prompting officials to conduct an inquiry into the incident.

State’s health minister Ma Subramanian said: “We had earlier assured that we will take action on the smallest of medical negligence established. The committee has found that there was medical negligence. The two doctors will be transferred immediately and will face departmental action.”

Albert John, the deputy commissioner of police of the Flower Bazaar area, said a complaint was registered and they will proceed with criminal action against the doctors following the post-mortem report.

Tamil Nadu’s chief minister MK Stalin has promised a state government job to one of Priya’s three brothers and a compensation of Rs 10,00,000 (₤10,336). A government job was also offered to Priya following her amputation.