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Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh's Licence Cancelled for Wrongly Declaring Baby Dead

The baby, who was found to be alive just before cremation, died on Thursday from infection and other medical problems after a week at a private clinic in Pitampura.

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Updated:December 8, 2017, 6:05 PM IST
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Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh's Licence Cancelled for Wrongly Declaring Baby Dead
Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain on Friday announced that the licence of the hospital has been cancelled due to negligence. (PTI)
New Delhi: The Delhi government on Friday cancelled the licence of Max hospital, Shalimar Bagh, with immediate effect after it wrongly declared a newborn baby dead on November 30.

The baby, who was found to be alive just before cremation, died on Thursday from infection and other medical problems after a week at a private clinic in Pitampura.

“We have cancelled the licence of Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh. The negligence in the newborn death case was unacceptable,” Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said at a press conference.

The decision was taken after a three member panel formed by the Delhi government found the hospital guilty of not having followed prescribed medical norms in dealing with newborn infants in its preliminary report submitted on Tuesday.

The panel had found evidence of negligence, including no ECG being done to confirm that the infant was dead, the dead and living children were not kept separately, and so on.

According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) of the Delhi government's heath department, the licence has been cancelled indefinitely.

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.

Earlier, addressing a press conference here, Jain said the government will not tolerate "criminal negligence", while terming the upscale private as a "habitual offender".

"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.

Asked about the doctors' negligence in the baby’s case, the health minister said the Delhi Medical Council and the Medical Council of India are competent authorities to take action against doctors.

The private hospital had declared new-born twins dead and handed them over to their parents in sealed plastic bags even as one of them was still alive. The parents realised this when they were on their way to perform the last rites. They rushed the baby to another hospital which declared the baby alive.

According to the twins' grandfather Pravin Malik, just as they were on their way to perform the last rites, he noticed there was some movement in the packet in which the kids were handed over to them.

"We were utterly shocked at the hospital's apathy," said Pravin.

Malik hailed the decision and said the action should serve as an example to other hospitals. “Now, we want the two accused doctors to be arrested,” he said. Max Healthcare had on December 3 terminated the services of the two doctors.

IMA president KK Agarwal slammed the decision and said the hospital’s licence cannot be cancelled for a doctor’s mistake. “If hospitals are closed like this all hospitals, including Safdargunj Hospital, would be shut. It’s a wrong decision,” he said, adding, “The Delhi government should rethink their decision, otherwise we will be forced to take some step.

In a statement, Max Healthcare said it would explore all available options to appeal against the “harsh” decision.

“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 judgment, 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,” it said.

“We stand firmly behind our commitment to patient care, clinical and service excellence to the best of our capabilities,” it added.
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