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A Live Baby was Packed in Plastic Bag, Line Had to be Drawn: Satyendar Jain

The AAP Government on Friday cancelled the licence of Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, one of the leading private hospitals in the capital. This came after the hospital had declared a living newborn as dead and packed it in a plastic bag.

Rupashree Nanda | CNN-News18

Updated:December 8, 2017, 10:38 PM IST

The AAP Government on Friday cancelled the licence of Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, one of the leading private hospitals in the capital. This came after the hospital had declared a living newborn as dead and packed it in a plastic bag. CNN-News18’s Rupashree Nanda spoke to Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain immediately after he announced the decision.

What was the most important factor that played on your mind when you cancelled the licence of Max Shalimar Bagh Hospital?

I would like to make it clear right away that Delhi Government does not want to interfere in the day-to-day functioning of private hospitals. However, the government will not tolerate cases of criminal negligence and loot. In this hospital, there was such a case that was reported in the media that was beyond imagination, a living being was passed off as dead and literally ‘packed’. This kind of incident is unheard of. We have always heard cases of negligence, mistakes but this kind of case was unheard of. It was perceived that this case cannot be dealt with lightly.

Also, this hospital was found to be a habitual offender. We had served a notice on them on November 22nd. We had already found many cases of negligence. Despite that, instead of correcting themselves, the hospital ends up with a case like this. What does it mean? Inquiry is on, notices are being served and yet when such an incident is reported, it is very strange.

So was the fact that the hospital was a habitual offender that prompted you to take such a harsh step? Had it been a first time offender, perhaps, you would not have been so harsh?

I had never heard of such an incident before- that a child who was alive was passed off as dead and packed off. Along with that, we had so many other issues with the hospital already. The hospital had already made a lot of mistakes- we summed up and the consensus was, ‘ there is no way out ‘, (apart from cancelling the licence).

IMA's KK Agarwal says it is a very harsh step. Should you not have taken it?

What other step could we have taken? You can ask him, you can also ask the citizens of Delhi. We have told the hospital that it can continue to treat patients who are already admitted in it as well as offer the patients the option of shifting out to other hospitals if they want to. We have told the hospital that they cannot admit new patients. A line has to be drawn. It cannot be that the law of the land is not taken seriously, and the people are taken for granted. This, clearly, cannot continue.

Max, in its initial response, is alleging that you did not give them adequate time and opportunity to reply. What would you say about that?

The inquiry committee formed by the Delhi Government has submitted its report – not once but twice. Before submitting the preliminary report, the committee spoke to many people and before submitting the final report, it spoke to many many people. They have been given full opportunity to respond. The hospital did not think it that it is necessary to reply to the first notice that was sent to it.

You must be aware that Max hospital may go to the court and obtain a stay? What will be your step then?

You perhaps feel that they have got a stay or will obtain a stay order. They have been found guilty of criminal negligence and obtaining a stay will not be easy. And we will act according to the law. We have acted in accordance with the law. We did not see any other way but to cancel its licence and then we did this.

JP Nadda has written to Arvind Kejriwal asking Delhi to adopt the Clinical Establishment ( Regulation and Registration) Act, or bring in another law that would adequately deal with issues of loot and negligence. Does Delhi need another law?

Delhi Government is in the process of enacting a new law, ‘The Delhi Health Act’. There have been lot of deliberations and discussions with various stake holders on that. That will be an elaborate act and will be aimed at stemming cases of loot and neglect. We hear regularly cases of exorbitant fees – you are free to determine your fees and your room rent- the patient is aware of the charges however, what about charges that the patient is not aware of and is suddenly shocked. It is this aspect that needs regulation and we are looking into that.

| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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