A young man suffering from meningitis died at a Rohini hospital after waiting eight hours for an ambulance to be moved to a superspeciality centre. The Delhi government has ordered a probe into the incident which took place on Wednesday at the Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital.
Vikram alias Sonu (23),who was from the economically weaker section and worked as a daily wage labour hand to support his parents,wife and month-old daughter,was brought to the hospital on May 28. He was diagnosed with tuberculous meningitis.
Vikram had a BPL card but his family did not bring this to the notice of hospital authorities. The family was told to make an initial deposit of Rs 10,000.
After Vikrams condition took a turn for the worse on Wednesday,he was shifted to the ICU and put on ventilator support. Less than an hour later,the authorities decided he would be better managed at the Max Super Speciality Hospital in Shalimar Bagh.
We do not have the facility for arterial blood gas (ABG) testing,a must for patients on ventilator. We outsource it for routine patients. Since he was also getting critical,we thought it would be prudent to shift him to another hospital, Dr Vijay Kathuria,the consultant who was treating Vikram,told Newsline.
With the hospital lacking an ambulance with ventilator support,administration officials say they contacted members of the High Court-appointed committee for EWS patients.
We approached the committee members who directed us to speak to Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh. They told us that they could provide a bed and ventilator for the patient,but they did not have an ambulance with a ventilator to send here, said Shweta Pareek,senior administrative in-charge at the hospital.
Max Healthcare,in an official response to Newsline queries,said: On being contacted,we immediately agreed to admit the patient for treatment. We requested that the patient be brought to the hospital since the ambulance was not available at our premises.
Ashok Aggarwal,a member of the HC committee,then approached the Sushruta Trauma Centre in North Delhi which too could not make an ambulance available.
Frantic calls to the CAT ambulance service by Aggarwal fetched the same response: no vehicle was available at that time. Finally,at 7 pm,a CAT ambulance reached the hospital. But doctors discovered that its ventilator was not working.
At 7.15 pm,Vikas had a cardiac arrest. Half hour later,he was declared dead after attempts to revive him failed.
His family is in shock. We did not have the money to call an ambulance on our own. Throughout the day,we were being assured that everything would be sorted out. In the evening,they told us my husband is no more. He just had fever. How is this possible? said Neelam,his wife who is 20-years-old.
A Delhi government official said a written reply has been sought from the BM Hospital.
Their EWS patient in-charge and medical superintendent had resigned,but the Delhi government was never informed. They charged an EWS patient,and did not bother to refund later. Plus,the reason for shifting him is not justified. It is a minor procedure which could have been done outside after taking the patients samples, the official said.