Chandigarh: The Haryana government today ordered a probe into allegations that Gurgaon’s Fortis Hospital overcharged the family of a 7-year-old girl who died of dengue, soon after the state was asked by the Union health ministry to urgently look into the case.
Gurgaon’s Fortis Hospital, where the girl was admitted, refuted the charges, claiming the patient’s family was informed about the bill on a daily basis and that there was no medical negligence.
Haryana health minister Anil Vij said in Chandigarh a senior state officer would investigate the matter.
The health ministry earlier today asked the Haryana government to take “exemplary” action against Fortis if “overcharging, negligence or malfeasance” was established in the case of the dengue patient.
Health Secretary Preeti Sudan asked for an action taken report within two weeks in a letter to the principal secretary of Haryana’s health department.
“l request you to urgently initiate an enquiry into the whole incident,” she said in the letter.
Fortis said in its statement, issued after the Union ministry’s directive to the state, that there was no medical negligence or overcharging, as alleged in sections of the social media.
“We understand the angst of the aggrieved parents but would like to assure all and the family of the child that there has been no medical negligence or overcharging towards the care of the child as is being misrepresented in the social media,” it said.
The hospital said, “All standard medical protocols were followed in treating the patient and all clinical guidelines were adhered to”.
Minister Vij said directions had been issued to the officer probing the case to submit the report at the earliest so that strict action could be taken against the guilty.
Vij said no hospital in the state would be allowed to “play with the health and sentiments” of the people.
The health secretary’s letter said details of the treatment and charges levied by the hospital needed to be ascertained. Expert opinion on “reasonability” relating to the case would be taken into account.
“In case any overcharging, negligence or malfeasance is made out on the part of the hospital, exemplary action needs to be taken immediately to reassure the general public and to lend credence to the healthcare system,” she wrote.
The case relates to the death in September of a 7-year- old girl who was admitted with dengue to the Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI), Gurgaon, a multi super-speciality care hospital.
The hospital billed her family almost Rs 16 lakh.
Fortis had yesterday claimed an itemised bill “spread over 20 pages was explained and handed over to the family” when they took the child out of the hospital.
In the letter, Sudan said that it has been alleged that the patient was grossly overcharged and there was also negligence in treatment.
“Such incidents have an extremely deleterious impact on the faith of the general public in the healthcare system in the country.
“It is our duty to ensure that quality care and treatment is provided to persons in need and that it is provided at a fair and affordable price,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Health Minister J P Nadda also sought a “detailed report” from the private hospital.
The minister, who termed the incident “very unfortunate”, said he had asked the health secretary to look into the case.
Nadda said he had taken note of the allegation levelled on Twitter last night against the hospital by a friend of the girl’s parents.
“One of my batchmate’s 7 year old was in @fortis_hospital for ~15 days for Dengue. Billed 18 lakhs including for 2700 gloves. She passed away at the end of it…,” the friend said in the tweet which went viral.