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AIIMS nurse death: Doctor says Kaur was operated upon without anaesthesia

New Delhi: The 28-year-old AIIMS staffer, Rajbir Kaur, who died during childbirth at the institution, was operated upon without anaesthesia, a doctor who was part of the medical team revealed on Wednesday.

According to him, doctors from the Gynaecology and Anaesthesia Departments committed a series of procedural lapses that led to the nursing officer’s death.

“Despite refusal by Senior Resident doctor of Anaesthesia Department N. Nisa to allow Kaur to be operated on the back table in the maternity Operation Theatre, it was the doctors from Gynaecology Department who shifted her to the back table for the caesarian section,” the doctor said on the condition of anonymity.

Doctors should use the front table for surgeries related to pregnancy as the back table in the maternity OT is meant for normal procedures such as examining patients with gynaecology-related difficulties.

The doctor said that after Kaur was shifted to the back table, the team of gynaecologists had told Manish, a Junior Resident doctor from Anaesthesia Department present on duty, that they will perform the caeserian section with local anaesthesia if he did not administer any anaesthetic.

The doctor said both depended on each other for administering anaesthetic to the patient, but none actually did.

“As the team started performing the surgery, Kaur jumped up due to extreme pain after the first incision. After that when Manish went to check on her, the team realised that the patient was not given anaesthesia,” the doctor said.

Later, Manish, during the caeserian section, gave Kaur an anaesthetic agent to calm her down.

The gynaecology team was led by Seema Singhal, a senior doctor and a faculty at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Among other procedural lapses, the doctor said that the medical team had not secured an airway before starting the surgery, which led to difficulties in breathing for the patient.

“It was only N. Nisa who later arrived and ensured the tracheal intubation. Had the team followed the instructions of N. Nisa, things would have been under control,” the doctor said.

Tracheal intubation is the placement of a flexible plastic tube into the windpipe to maintain an open airway.

The medical team had also not prepared the patient well for the surgery due to which the patient witnessed pulmonary aspiration during the surgery.

“When the entire chaos was unfolding in the OT, the suction apparatus was not working either,” the doctor added.

The nursing officer also suffered a cardiac arrest. She was revived and shifted to the ICU but then she remained in coma for three weeks before being declared dead on February 4.

“The morbidity was due to a cardiac arrest, however, later her other organs also got damaged leading to her death,” the doctor said.

A probe committee, constituted to investigate the alleged procedural lapses, had terminated N. Nisa on February 21.