A cardiologist from a government hospital in Uttar Pradesh, who prioritised money over people’s health and allegedly implanted sub-standard pacemakers in his patients while charging as much as nine times the cost of a standard one, has been arrested. Police sources said at least 200 people have been adversely affected by the pacemakers that had been implanted by the doctor.
Dr Sameer Saraf, a cardiologist at Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Sciences, Saifai, was arrested on Thursday, but complaints against him had surfaced much earlier, when the wife of a lawyer had died after a low-grade pacemaker had allegedly been implanted by the doctor.
Dr Saraf implanted pacemakers in 600 patients and the initial police investigation shows that at least 200 of them were sub-standard.
In 2019, advocate Mohammed Tahir’s wife Reshma Begum started feeling uneasy and was taken to the Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Sciences, Saifai. A temporary pacemaker was implanted in her and Mr Tahir was urged to get a permanent one implanted.
Complications persisted after the surgery, and Reshma was taken to a hospital in Delhi as well, but she could not be saved.
Etawah resident Mohammad Naseem had also alleged that his wife Najma Parveen lost her life due to Dr Saraf’s negligence. He had claimed Dr Saraf took Rs 4 lakh for an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) and then implanted it in the wrong direction.
In December 2021, the medical superintendent of the institute, Dr Adesh Kumar, filed a complaint against Dr Saraf and the police registered a case in February 2022.
“We have arrested Dr Sameer Saraf, a cardiologist at Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Sciences, Saifai. He faces various allegations, including overcharging patients, financial irregularities and using substandard medical devices, etc,” news agency PTI quoted Senior Superintendent of Police Santosh Kumar as saying.
Police are now probing whether there is a larger nexus involved and are trying to find out which company had supplied the fake pacemakers to Dr Saraf.