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Private hospitals, Govt Hospitals have to be judged on same standards: Delhi High Court

Private hospitals, Govt Hospitals have to be judged on same standards: Delhi High Court

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court said the Centre and the AAP government cannot have different standards for private hospitals and those run by them as far as instances of medical negligence are concerned.

The observation by Justice Vibhu Bakhru came during the hearing of a plea alleging medical negligence by Safdarjung Hospital in wrongly declaring a newborn as dead in June 2017.

The infant was brought back to the hospital and put on a ventilator, but died after 36 hours.

The court said that for a similar incident the Delhi government had shut down Max Hospital for two days, so why no action has been taken against the staff or doctors concerned of Safdarjung Hospital.

“The Delhi government closed down Max Hospital for two days on a similar issue. There cannot be two standards, one for the private hospitals and one for government hospitals,” it said.

The court asked the Delhi government to place before it the file relating to the Max Hospital incident where a twin baby, born prematurely on November 30, 2017, was wrongly declared dead and was later found to be alive. The baby died a week later.

Directions were also issued by the court to the Medical Superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital, represented by central government counsel Monika Arora and advocate Kushal Sharma, to return all the medical records of the mother and baby to the family within a week. It warned that failure to do so would invite its ire.

The court had earlier ordered setting up of a committee to probe the medical negligence charge against the hospital.

The committee today submitted its report in which it has concluded that it was not a baby but an abortus, as it was a 22-week-old foetus, and therefore, “did not merit proactive resuscitation” as it was not capable of surviving.

The panel has held that there does not appear to be any medical negligence on the part of the treating doctors.

However, the court refused to accept the stand saying that five-month-old foetuses are known to have survived even if those incidents were rare and therefore, it cannot be said that in the instant case the foetus could not have survived.

The court was also displeased with the “disturbing” manner in which the foetus was handed over to the family in an envelope and directed the hospital to file an affidavit indicating the person responsible for doing so.

It said that the affidavit should also indicate if any action was proposed to be taken against the individual in question and listed the matter for further hearing on January 18.

According to the petition filed by the parents through advocate Sija Nair Pal, the incident occurred on June 18 this year when the baby was born four months prematurely at Safdarjung Hospital.

The baby was born at 5.45 am, but at 6.00 am the same day the parents were informed that the infant has passed away and the body was handed over in an envelope for the last rites, the petition said.

However, a few hours later, while taking the infant for cremation, it was noticed that the baby was gasping for breath and was rushed back to the hospital.

The hospital provided oxygen to the baby, but the infant did not survive for more than 36 hours, the petition has said.

Source: PTI
5 comment(s) on Private hospitals, Govt Hospitals have to be judged on same standards: Delhi High Court

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  1. user
    Meenakshi gupta January 5, 2018, 7:28 pm

    Same should be for that one judgement where it was said that caesarean section at a hospital where no ventilator facility was available is wrong and that private hospital was held majority govt set up no ventilator facility available and all operation carried

  2. I have only one humble submission for the respected Court of Law. In India when you become an advocate, you read Indian law, When you become an accountant, you read Indian accountancy system and related rules but when you become doctor you read US/ UK books and guidelines. You have only US and UK standards to judge Indian doctors. This is a big issue which courts often ignore. Second issue is finances. A machine is sold by a medical instrument making company at almost same price in India and US (e.g. look for price of VIVID 9 USG platform by GE in India and US) while cost per test in US is 60-100 times higher than in India. How can you match the time given to one patient in US with that in India but unfortunately while dealing with medical negligence, standards are taken from books / guideline published in US/UK. Third factor is social security system, irrespective of amount of expenditure, if you are following guidelines, insurance company will pay for it in US while in India more than the guidelines, financial status of patient is important. Even if indicated, you avoid a test to maximum feasible because your patient can not afford it. Same is true for medication. So how can you compare. In fact there is on Indian standard to compare with. Over and above, there is corruption in India. Govt./ corporate sponsored schemes are misused by one and all and there is no genuine medical audit. Without mal-intent towards anyone……

  3. user
    Dr. Surajit Bhattacharya January 5, 2018, 10:16 am

    It is not only a matter of having same standards for government and private hospitals but it is something more vital that is hidden between the lines of this judgement that we have to address as a nation. Laws have to be framed for such 22 week fetuses which experts in this field believe do not merit proactive resuscitation. There are sound reasons given in medical literature why such efforts are futile and only after due deliberations among experts have these guidelines been formulated about whom to resuscitate and whom not to resuscitate. Only then have these standard guidelines been published in journals and subsequently in text books. Now if \’I know everything\’ judges start making these decisions in the court of law, without consulting experts, then every fetus no matter how premature, will be resuscitated, tax payer\’s money or worse still, parent\’s money will be wasted, and after the fetus eventually dies the parents will take the doctors and the hospital to the same court saying that they were greedy and trying to resuscitate an already dead fetus and trying to make money out of their misfortune. The only beneficiary in this sordid saga will be the yellow media, which will have a dirty story to tell either way!

  4. user
    Shiv Shanker Sharma January 5, 2018, 2:50 pm

    Dr Bhatacharya,you are very right sir.
    Without proper knowledge one should not pass such judgement.To practise medicine is a very stressful & difficult task.
    The doctor concerned did not handled the case properly.

  5. user
    Surinder Jindal January 5, 2018, 8:55 am

    Government hospitals should also be under consumer court.
    Government is paying salary from public taxes