THE Faultlines between the Delhi government and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital deepened on Saturday as an FIR was filed against the hospital’s Medical Superintendent for allegedly violating directions issued under the Epidemic Diseases Act. The FIR, filed on June 5, was based on a complaint by Deputy Secretary (Health) Amit Kumar Pamasi.
The development came on a day Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took aim at “some private hospitals” in the Capital without naming any particular facility, saying they were “lying” about not having vacant beds, and indulging in “black marketeering”.
“A few days ago, a person came to me and informed me he was denied a bed by a private hospital, and after many requests, they gave him admission after charging him Rs 2 lakh… I am not saying all private hospitals are bad. Private hospitals in the city have played an important role in our battle against coronavirus. But there are some hospitals which are asking for money from patients to provide them a bed. This is called black marketing of beds and we will not allow it,” the CM said.
His comments come against the backdrop of rising Covid cases in the Capital — 1,330 cases in the last 24 hours alone — and a flurry of reports and social media posts by people highlighting difficulties in admitting Covid patients to hospitals.
Filed under IPC Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), the FIR accuses Sir Ganga Ram Hospital of not using RT PCR app while collecting Covid samples as is “mandatory”.
“The CDMO cum mission director central has mentioned that Sir Ganga Ram Hospital is still not using RT PCR app even till June 3, which is a clear violation of directions issued under Epidemic Disease Covid-19 Regulation 2020 Act,” stated the FIR.
Delhi Police confirmed that the FIR had been filed.
The FIR drew a sharp reaction from the Delhi Medical Association (DMA), with its president Dr B B Wadhwa saying in a statement, “The hospitals are the backbone of the healthcare system. They are being penalised and the government, instead of praising their efforts, is issuing new dictatorial orders daily. Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and its doctors who have saved lakhs of lives in the last decades are being penalised and threatened. The FIR against the hospital is highly condemnable and demoralising for the entire medical fraternity.”
The Delhi government did not respond to the DMA statement.
When contacted, D S Rana, chairman of board, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said, “It is a simple communication gap which will be sorted out soon.”
Testing for Covid has been stopped at the hospital since June 3, when the Department of Health issued an order to the hospital, which was given two days to explain why “they have not started sample collection via RT PCR app”. Rana said a response had been sent to the notice.
To streamline the testing process, the Union Health Ministry had launched a dedicated RT-PCR mobile-based app for labs to fill the data at the point of sample collection. Following the directives, Delhi had made it mandatory for all lab collection and testing centres to download the app from May 8.
As reported by The Indian Express on Saturday, doctors from various departments at the hospital had criticised the move to stop testing, saying it was leading to chemotherapy sessions being delayed, surgeries being put on hold and chaos during admissions to the emergency room.
The hospital’s lab is among the six which had been issued show-cause notices by the state government for allegedly flouting ICMR guidelines for testing. The 675-bed hospital had been recently converted into a Covid facility, with 80 per cent of its beds to be set aside for coronavirus patients.
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