By Komal Nathani:
Major protests had erupted at the IIT-Kanpur following the sudden death of a 26-year-old research scholar named Alok Kumar Pandey, who died an unnatural death due to cardiac arrest because of sheer medical negligence as per students’ allegations in campus.
The roads had been blocked and the entire academic area gate was flocked with students sitting and protesting against the doctors of the institute’s health care centre. Alok Kumar Pandey, a PhD research scholar in the Material Science Programme reported a ‘neck and chest pain’ issue around 2:15 p.m. He was then administered an injection for relieving pain in the institute’s health care centre following an ECG which clearly stated the severe case of heart attack. Alok was immediately taken to the cardiology institute and declared brought dead there. In the email sent by the President of IIT-Kanpur Students’ Gymkhana, it had been clearly stated that the condition of Mr. Pandey started deteriorating within 10 minutes of his visit while students have claimed that patient was fine until an injection was administered, which resulted in ‘other anomalies’, as per IIT-Kanpur’s Students’ Newspaper, Vox Populi.
The varsity’s director Indranil Manna had ordered a fact-finding committee to probe the case, which had no member of IIT-Kanpur. The team had included the former Director of Laxmipatil Singhania Institute of Cardiology, Dr. S.S Singhal who will also be heading the panel, the former head of the department Dr. Mohammad Ahmed and the former principal of GSVM Medical college, Dr. Rakesh Chandra.
The numbers of protesters had been increasing as more than 500 students had joined the ongoing protests, asking the institute to accept three demands without any negotiations:
1. Institute should file the FIR against the doctor responsible.
2. Institute should immediately suspend the doctor responsible.
3. Proper financial assistance to be provided to victim’s family for the legal procedures to be followed up.
Though students have since then called off their 4-day long agitation when the institute accepted their demands and suspended the doctor of the health care centre, as per sources, the fact finding committee has now given a clean chit to the suspended doctor.
A second committee has been formed by the varsity’s director to conduct a probe in the case. The atmosphere in campus is silent at present due to the assurance given by the administration to students of providing proper healthcare facilities and a revamp in medical staff at IIT-K health care centre.
This is not the first time that the institute’s health centre is in the middle of a controversy according to a fourth year student at IIT-K. “This is not just about one case, there have been two-three cases which have happened. Mr. Aftab Alam, computer engineer at the institute’s Computer Science centre died a sudden death on last October and a ‘sudden heart stroke was mentioned as the reason’.”