Fortis case: Panel indicts hospital; Not death but murder,says

Chandigarh, Dec 6  A panel probing the allegations of overcharging against Gurgaon’s Fortis hospital found “several irregularities” including protocols not being followed in a case related to the death of a 7-year-old girl who died of dengue.

Following the indictment by the panel, Haryana Health minister Anil Vij said an FIR will be lodged against the private hospital while the license of its blood bank will be cancelled.

In addition, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) will be asked to explore the possibilities for cancellation of lease of land given to the hospital, he said.

“The hospital made a hefty profit on medicines given, which works out to 108 per cent, and for some consumables it is as high as 1737 per cent,” he alleged, pointing out that the bill for Adya Singh’s treatment shot upto Rs 15 lakh.

“Put in simple words, it is not a death, it is a murder,” Vij alleged at a crowded press conference at his office here.

The Fortis group, meanwhile, said that all documents, statements and details required by the probe team of the Haryana government were provided. A statement released by the group added that they were “yet to receive a copy of the report”.

At the press conference, Vij, flanked by the probe committee members, claimed there were many irregularities, unethical practices and protocol of diagnosis and medical duties was not adopted.

“The death of the girl has happened due to Leave Against Medical Advice (LAMA) protocol not being followed. The girl was on a ventilator, but she was put in an ordinary ambulance, ventilator was withdrawn and an ambu bag was not provided in that, which became the cause of her death, which is a very serious irregularity,” Vij said.

Releasing the contents of the inquiry report, the minister said the child should have gone in an Advanced Life Support ambulance. But she was provided a basic ambulance, he added.

“Negligence, lapse, unethical, unlawful acts on the part of the team of doctors of Fortis hospital has been found when the patient was shifted from the ICU to the ambulance,” he alleged.

The Minister further said that his department will write to the Medical Council of India demanding action against the hospital.

As far as this death due to negligence goes, we are going to register a FIR against the Fortis hospital because the child’s death has occurred due to negligence, he said.

“Put in simple words, it is not a death, it is a murder.

When a child was on advanced life support system for so many days and when it is suddenly withdrawn, the patient does not know, her parents are not aware of what could be the consequences but being doctors they should have known that it will be a sudden death,” Vij said.

A committee headed by Dr Rajiv Wadhera, Additional DG, Health, Haryana, which submitted its report today, was set up by Haryana government on November 21 to probe allegations that the private hospital overcharged the girl’s family.

The Centre had asked the Haryana government to initiate an urgent inquiry into the case that relates to the death in September of a 7-year-old girl.

The hospital had earlier refuted the charges, claiming the patient’s family was informed about the bill on a daily basis and that there was no medical negligence.

Vij said the girl’s parents also put their views before the committee. He said she was diagnosed with dengue and admitted to Rockland hospital in Delhi’s Dwarka.

“Later on the patient was diagnosed as suffering from Dengue Shock Syndrome. She was admitted to Fortis, Gurgaon on August 31,” he said.

Asked why the girl’s parents wanted her to be discharged from Fortis, Vij said, “they wanted to take her back to Rockland, may be due to cost which they were incurring in Fortis.”

Vij said that legal opinion will be sought on filing an FIR. “But we have decided that we will lodge FIR against this Fortis hospital for medical negligence,” he said.

He said dengue is a notifiable disease “but it was not notified by the FMRI to the local authorities, which is a lapse”. Our CMO has given them notice for this, he said.

He claimed that costly medicines were used when cheaper substitutes were available.

“Overcharging in transfusion of platelets was also found.

Platelets were given on 25 occasions, out of which Rs 400 per unit was charged on 17 occasions and on eight occasions these were charged at Rs 2,000 per unit. We are going to cancel the license of their blood bank and have already given them a notice in this regard,” he said.

A costly injection was administered on most occasions, which cost Rs 3,112 whereas a substitute costing Rs 499 was available, Vij claimed.

“The hospital made a hefty profit on medicines given, which works out to 108 per cent, and for some consumables it is as high as 1737 per cent,” he said citing the report.

Land was given by HUDA to Fortis hopsital in Gurgaon in 2004 under certain terms and conditions, which included 20 per cent of free OPD, ten per cent free beds and 70 per cent discounted treatment to 20 per cent IPD (In Patient Department), but prima facie these terms were violated, Vij alleged.

“We are writing to HUDA in this regard because they have violated MoU agreements and if lease has to be cancelled, the HUDA committee will look into it,” he said.

Vij also claimed that the girl’s family had alleged that their signatures were forged on some of the consent forms.

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