A young orthopaedic surgeon in Kerala died by suicide Thursday reportedly on account of being harassed by many on social media platforms accusing him for the death of a seven-year-old child during surgery on September 23.
The Kilikollur police in Kollam district have filed a case of unnatural death after 35-year-old Dr Anoop Krishna, who runs the Anoop Ortho Care hospital, was found dead at his home in Kadappakada. Moments before his death, he had reportedly scribbled the word ‘sorry’ on the walls of the bathroom.
A senior police officer, probing the death, said it is too early to say if the doctor’s suicide has any connection to the death of a child during surgery a week ago. He said the police would investigate if the doctor was harassed or received online/offline threats.
On September 23, a seven-year-old girl, admitted to the hospital run by Dr Anoop, had suffered a cardiac arrest during a knee surgery that was led by Dr Anoop himself. Although she was taken to another hospital, she passed away. The family of the deceased along with locals staged protests in front of the hospital, holding Dr Anoop responsible. They also filed a case of medical negligence with the Kollam East police station. The probe, led by Assistant Commissioner A Pradeep Kumar, was underway when Dr Anoop took his life.
Kumar, when asked about the probe, said, “The investigation is at a primary stage. There are several procedures involved and we cannot jump to any conclusions. The child’s post-mortem report and other lab reports are awaited.”
“We have been in touch with the doctor’s office all along and had even asked him to contact us (if he was facing threats). He didn’t personally tell me anything about it.”
Meanwhile, several doctors came to the fore in support of Dr Anoop, censuring the “trial by social media and online portals”.
Dr Sulphi Noohu, an ENT consultant and vice-president of the Kerala chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA), wrote on Facebook that Dr Anoop had agreed to the child’s surgery after several doctors declined to do it, perhaps citing Covid-19 risks.
“Unfortunately, we lost the child. And there comes an army of soldiers ready for a social media trial. They wrote the verdict that the doctor is guilty. For some quick bucks, they even wrote that he killed her. They spread negative news for the popularity they get through it. For some chum change they get on YouTube. This was the only objective of online portals that performed the social media trial,” he wrote.
“But Kerala lost a great doctor. Anoop’s family lost a loving member, his son a father, his wife a loving husband and for friends, an active companion. But those who did the social media trial lost nothing. This must not be repeated. We cannot allow this. There must be action against those who did the media trial. We need a change in cyber laws. There can be freedom of expression, but character-assassination should not be allowed.”
Dr Jinesh PS of InfoClinic wrote on Facebook that doctors don’t have “magic” medicine that can cure everyone. They are also humans, aided by the facilities they have, the knowledge they earned and the advancement of science engaging in a profession, he said.
“Negligence and complications are two terms with different meanings. During treatment, complications cannot be avoided. In almost all kinds of surgeries where there’s anesthesia, there are complications. We can only be careful in avoiding such complications. If they happen, we can only provide the correct treatment. Deaths can happen due to complications. Here, without confirming whether it was negligence or complications, cries of murder are raised. I register my anger and disappointment. This suicide is an injury to the heart of every health worker and the silence of the society to it,” wrote Dr Jinesh.