In what could be the first indictment of Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, which had erroneously declared a newborn “dead”, the Delhi government Tuesday said the preliminary report, submitted by the inquiry committee set up by it, has found that no Electrocardiography (ECG) was done to check if the infant’s heart was still beating after the surgery. The government said the report had “found the hospital guilty of not having followed prescribed medical norms” in dealing with newborn infants.
On Friday, allegations had emerged that the hospital had handed over twins it had declared dead to the family in “polythene packets” and that one of the babies turned out to be alive while being taken to the cremation ground. The baby continues to be critical at a nursing home and the mother is still at Max Hospital.
A senior government official told The Indian Express that the hospital “could face drastic action” once the final report is submitted to the government later this week. The official said that the committee set up by it, comprising three doctors, said in its preliminary report that “after scrutinising hospital records and meeting relevant staff, it found that no ECG tracing was done to ascertain whether the child was alive”. An ECG test measures the heart’s electrical activity to ascertain if it is functioning normally.
Senior officials said the body of the 22-week premature baby “was handed over without written instruction”. Sources also said that the “dead and alive children were not kept separately” and that “the hospital is guilty of not having followed prescribed norms”.
“This is a preliminary report submitted by the three-member expert panel set up by the government. The department will look into it and decide the future course of action. The final report will be submitted this week,” a senior official of the Delhi government told The Indian Express.
Max authorities said, “Media flashes indicate that the said report is preliminary. We would like to thoroughly review the final report when we receive it before commenting.” Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has written to the government, requesting to set up a medical board to ascertain whether the hospital followed the protocol during the treatment of the newborn and the mother.
DCP (northwest) Aslam Khan told The Indian Express that they want an “expert medical opinion” from the board on the issue. “Further investigation will be based on the report received from the medical board. We questioned at least six people, including three doctors, in connection with the case Monday,” said Khan.