Italian death: NHRC issues notice to Odisha govt

Cuttack: Even as an administrative enquiry ordered into last month's death of an Italian tourist in SCB Medical College Hospital here is yet to suggest an opinion, the incident has come under the scanner of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

The commission on Wednesday issued a notice to the Odisha government asking the health secretary to submit a report on it within four weeks.

The managing trustee of a Puri-based social organisation had petitioned the NHRC alleging that the 63-year-old Italian tourist Sebastian Rosario Contiguglia had died in the Cuttack hospital on December 13, 2012 allegedly due negligence in treatment and hospital care.

Appearing for the petitioner, his counsel Nishikant Mishra had urged the Commission to order for an enquiry into the sordid affair and recommend stringent punishment to the erring doctors for neglecting an old and sick foreign tourist.

The petitioner had also urged the commission to direct the state government to pay a damage of Rs 20 lakh to the family of the victim.

The petitioner had contested saying that the Italian tourist, who was undergoing treatment in the ICU of medicine department of the hospital was shifted to a ward of the pulmonary department under dubious circumstances.

A PIL in this regard is pending adjudication in Orissa High Court while the Central division Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) Arvind Padhee had ordered for an administrative enquiry by the district collector to find out the circumstances in which the tourist died.

Although Cuttack collector Girish S N had conducted the enquiry, the report is yet to be placed before the RDC.

"I have not received the enquiry report yet and it would be premature to give an opinion on it at this point of time," Padhee said.

The Italian tourist visiting some places in the state had taken ill and was admitted in the Cuttack hospital on November 26, 2012 suffering from acute encephalitis (inflammation in brain).