Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh loses its licence, calls Delhi government's move 'harsh', 'unfair'

Hours after Delhi government cancelled the licence of Shalimar Bagh branch of Max Hospital for erroneously declaring a newborn dead, Max Healthcare has termed the decision as 'harsh'  and 'unfair', according to latest media reports.

The hospital, in a statement issued after the Delhi government's order, said "...We believe that even if there is an individual error of judgment, holding the hospital responsible is unfair and will severely limit the ability for patients to access treatment. This will compound the shortage of hospital facilities in the National Capital..."

Reacting to Delhi government's decision, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) also termed the move as "too harsh a step" and said that action should be initiated against "those who are at fault" after inquiry.

IMA president KK Aggarwal said that the government decision was "not in the interest of society". He was quoted by PTI  as saying"I personally feel it was wrong. The government has taken a wrong decision...For a mistake that occurred at the level of a doctor, the licence of the hospital cannot be cancelled."

He further said, "... Mistakes occur even at premier government hospitals such as AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital. If the government starts cancelling the licenses of hospitals in such a manner than all the healthcare facilities will have to be shut down," he said."

Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain in a press conference earlier on Friday afternoon had announced that the licence of the hospital stands cancelled due to hospital's negligence. However, he added that the hospital was allowed to continue the treatment of patients currently admitted but cannot attend any new patients. Those undergoing treatment at the hospital can shift to a different hospital if they wish, Jain added. The minister said that the decision was taken after an inquiry panel set up by the government submitted its report on Friday. Jain said last month they had also issued a notice to Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh for problems in the treatment of patients under EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) category. The Delhi government's decision to revoke the hospital's license incidentally comes hours after Indian Medical Association (IMA) said that the death of the child did not amount to criminal negligence. The IMA, in a  letter sent to the doctors acknowledging the case said, "deaths are not a case of criminal negligence", however, "packing the baby in plastic bag shows lack of empathy on part of the doctors. The letter further added that "doctors' mistakes are part of the learning curve..."

The baby boy was declared dead by Max Hospital on 30 November and handed over to the parents in a plastic bag, along with its still-born sister.

However, the baby started moving while being taken for burial. The baby was then admitted to a clinic in Pitampura, but died on Wednesday.  Following the uproar, the health minister took a strict note of the issue and had ordered an immediate probe.  The hospital also terminated the services of two doctors involved in the declaring the premature baby as dead while he was alive.

Aggrieved by the negligence of the doctors, the baby's father had refused to take the body of his child, in an act of protest and demanded that the doctors involved in the "medical negligence" in the case be arrested.  "I will not take my son's body until the two doctors are arrested," the father told PTI.

On 5 December, a three-member doctor panel submitted the preliminary report to Jain. The report said the hospital was found guilty of not having followed prescribed medical norms. The doctors had not done ECG tracings before writing the death certificate.

The hospital in its defence had earlier said, "It has been brought to our notice that a 22-week premature newborn, who is said to be on life support at a nursing home, was unfortunately handed over (as dead)...by Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh. This baby was one of the twins delivered on the morning of 30 November. The other baby was stillborn. We are shaken and concerned at this rare incident. We have initiated a detailed inquiry, pending which the doctors concerned have been asked to proceed on leave immediately."

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 08, 2017 21:06:47 IST

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