The Delhi government today cancelled the licence of Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh with immediate effect, for alleged medical negligence including the twins case in which one of the babies was found alive after being declared dead by the doctors.
The move came after a three-member inquiry panel of the government submitted its final report to Health Minister Satyendar Jain, who described the incident as “not acceptable”.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) of the Delhi government’s heath department, the licence has been cancelled till further order.
In the order issued by the DGHS, the keeper of the hospital has also been directed to “refrain from admitting any new indoor patient and stop all outdoor treatment service in the premises with immediate effect”. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “open loot or criminal negligence” by any hospital will not be tolerated. “Whereas we don’t wish to interfere in day to day functioning of pvt hospitals, however, open loot or criminal negligence by any hospital won’t be tolerated. We won’t hesitate to take strongest action in such cases (sic),” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the hospital has termed the government's decision "harsh" and "unfair". It also pointed out that even if there is an individual error of judgement, holding the hospital responsible is unfair and will severely limit the ability for patients to access treatment.
"We have received notice of cancellation of the license of Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh. We strongly believe that this ruling is harsh and that we have not been given an adequate opportunity to be heard. We believe that even if there is an individual error of judgement, holding the hospital responsible is unfair and will severely limit the ability for patients to access treatment. This will compound the shortage of hospital facilities in the National Capital," the statement said.
"We will explore all options available to us. We stand firmly behind our commitment to patient care, clinical and service excellence to the best of our capabilities," it added.
Earlier, addressing a press conference here, Jain said the government will not tolerate “criminal negligence”, while terming the upscale private as a “habitual offender”. “Delhi government has cancelled the licence of Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh with immediate effect,” he said. “Max Hospital is a habitual offender and three notices were served earlier to it. And, it has been found guilty in those cases too.
“Three notices had been issued to the hospital over lapses involving the EWS (extremely weaker section) quota patients and dengue fever beds. The action taken is in continuation of effect of previous notices,” he said. Kejriwal had recently said that his government did not want to interfere in the functioning of private hospitals, but will not tolerate “criminal negligence”, he told reporters. “The (Max) hospital cannot admit and treat new patients, which means the the hospital’s billing function is not active now. They continue to treat admitted patients,” Jain said. Comments from Max Healthcare authorities are still awaited.
Asked about the doctors’ negligence in the twin baby case, the health minister said the Delhi Medical Council and the Medical Council of India are competent authorities to take action against doctors.
The DGHS in its order also said that “indoor patients admitted prior to the issue of this cancellation order shall be given a choice by the keeper of he hospital to continue their indoor treatment in your (Max) hospital or to be transferred/shifted to another hospital of their choice.” Jain had recently said that on November 22, a notice was sent to the Max Hospital for allegedly violating norms related to services to be given to EWS patients and use of dengue fever beds.
The three cases (twins, EWS, fever beds) were clubbed based on which the final action was taken. “I have directed the hospital authorities that they can give offer to admitted patients to shift, otherwise they can continue to get treatment at the hospital. “This is not the only mistake by the (Max) hospital. They have done three mistakes within a span of two-three months,” he said.
Jain on December 6 had said that based on the final report of the probe “strictest action” would be taken. The Max Hospital case pertains to one of the premature twins, wrongly declared dead last week at the hospital where he was born, and who died during treatment at a nursing home in Pitampura a week later.
Both the babies were declared stillborn by the hospital and handed over to the family allegedly in a polythene bag. But to their utter horror, the family found that the boy was still alive, while they were on way to do their final rites.