By Astha Joshi
The Bombay High court has expressed agony over the indifferent approach of jail authorities for not working, for over six months, on Sassoon Hospital’s counsel to suspected Maoist activist Kanchan Nanaware to undergo lung and heart transplants.
Justice Bharati Dangre said, “The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) must be conscious of the fact that the transplant is advised only as a last resort when there are no other ways of treating the heart ailment.”
She further said that medical officers, though of jail, must not forget that they are doctors who should attend the patient, despite he or she is a prisoner.
The judge was exasperated to note that six months had passed since the hospital’s advice, but nothing was done related to the transplants, and only formal treatment was being provided to the prisoner.
The court has directed the CMO of Yerwada central prison (where the alleged Maoist operative is lodged) to enquire with the directorate of health services and get more information on where the transplants can be performed and inform the court of the same on September 30.
The prisoner has moved the court for bail on medical grounds. According to her lawyer, senior advocate Gayatri Singh, the 36-year-old has previously undergone open-heart surgery twice and has been advised to undergo more surgeries further.
Singh said that Nanaware suffered from congenital heart disease and menorrhagia and was continuously under treatment at Sassoon Hospital at Pune. Singh said she required immediate attention, especially in the wake of the spread of Covid-19 inside the prison.
Several offences were registered against Nanaware and her husband Arun Bhelke in the Vidarbha region for being Maoist operatives. The couple was accused of working in metro cities like Mumbai and Pune to influence the urban poor, particularly the young, unemployed slum dwellers, to join the outlawed movement.