Stating that the death of a seven-year-old girl due to dengue-related complications at Gurgaon’s Fortis Hospital was, “in layman’s language, murder”, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij Wednesday said the state would get an FIR registered on charges of causing death due to negligence against the hospital.
A three-member probe panel constituted by Vij to look into allegations of overcharging also concluded that the hospital charged Aadya Singh’s parents Rs 15.6 lakh for a two-week hospital stay, and kept a 108% profit margin on the overall bill. The profit margin for medicines and consumables varied from 5% to 1,737%.
Instead of generic medicines, the hospital administered branded medicines, the panel found. The same injections from two different brands — one for Rs 499 and another for Rs 3,112.50 — were given to the patient, it found. The panel also found that the girl was administered platelets 25 times. While 17 times her parents were charged Rs 400 per unit, eight times they were charged Rs 2,000 per unit, which is a violation, the panel said.
“We shall be getting an FIR registered on charges of causing death due to negligence (against the hospital, under IPC section 304-A),” Vij said, addressing media persons in his office at the Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh.
In a statement, the hospital said, “We are yet to receive a copy of the inquiry report. The hospital has offered complete cooperation to the committee and the family… The girl was referred to the hospital as a case of dengue shock syndrome in a critical condition, and our medical team had provided the best possible care in the given circumstances.”
Vij, meanwhile, said, “The probe panel has found lots of irregularities. Protocol of diagnosis and medical duties was not followed. The child’s death was caused by not adopting the leave against medical advice (LAMA) protocol. The child was on a ventilator, but she was shoved into an ordinary ambulance. The ventilator was taken off and even the ambubag was not provided, which eventually led to the child’s death, which is a very serious irregularity.”
The parents had checked out the girl from the hospital against medical advice on September 14. They had alleged that the hospital even billed Rs 900 as the cost of a hospital gown she was forced to wear while being taken from Fortis to another hospital, where the death certificate was issued.
“IMA protocol says that if a patient is discharged against medical advice, he/she should be transferred out of the hospital in a similar condition. Either the hospital should make arrangements or the hospital gives an advice to the attendants of the patient. But the ambulance in which the child was taken out of the hospital had no such facilities. The child should have been given advance life support system, but she was provided a basic life support ambulance. It amounts to negligence, lapse, unethical and unlawful act on the part of team of doctors of Fortis Hospital when the patient was shifted out of ICU,” Vij said.
Vij said the state will write to the Medical Council of India, recommending stern action against the hospital. Vij said the state has also issued a notice to the hospital to cancel the licence of its blood bank, after gross violations were highlighted by the probe panel.
“In layman’s language, it is murder. The patient is unaware; the patient’s parents don’t know the consequences. But you are a doctor and you know the consequences if life support system is withdrawn from the patient. Legally, we shall be getting the FIR registered on charges of causing death due to negligence,” Vij said.
He also promised to look into allegations by the girl’s parents that their signatures on one of the two consent forms were forged by hospital authorities. The girl’s father, Jayant Singh, said, “If action is taken by the government on the findings of the report shared to the media, that will set an example for hospitals where there is malpractice. I have asked the committee to send me a copy of the report, but they said that I can get it through RTI. In my personal capacity, I will soon file a case in the consumer court as well as criminal court.”