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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Child's death: Ludhiana hospital accused of tampering with report

Anshu Seth and Harshraj Singh  Ludhiana, November 21, 2012
First Published: 23:55 IST(21/11/2012) | Last Updated: 00:20 IST(22/11/2012)

Accusing the hospital of tampering with the medical record of a seven-year-old boy who died on November 20 while under treatment at Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Model Hospital near Bharat Nagar Chowk here, the council of RTI activists has demanded a high-level inquiry into the incident.

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Rohit Sabharwal, president of the council of RTI activists, procured a copy of the medical report of Rahul Kumar, who was admitted to the hospital on November 19 with acute diarrhoeal disease, fever and dehydration, and died the next morning.

He has forwarded the complaint to the Medical Council of India, CMD of ESIC Corporation, National Commission for Child Rights and the National Human Rights Commission.
The copies of the two contradictory reports (files carrying the summary of diagnosis, treatment and doctors attending) are with Hindustan Times. 

Child's mother Prabha Devi has accused the hospital of negligence. "My son was not well and I kept telling the staff. His condition deteriorated and he died. The staff nurses kept calling the doctors but no doctor was available and it was too late when the doctor arrived as she could not revive my son."

Naresh Thakur, assistant manager at Eastman Impacts, a factory where Prabha Devi is an employee, while speaking on behalf of Prabha, said they would not take the body of the boy which was still lying in the hospital mortuary till a panel of experts conducted the post-mortem and sent the viscera for examination.

Thakur alleged, "Rahul's treatment at the hospital started on November 17, but they sent him back the same day after giving him medical aid and medicine. Thereafter, his condition deteriorated and Prabha again took him to the hospital on November 19, but the hospital refused to admit him. It was after a lot of persuasion that the hospital authorities admitted him. However, Prabha was not satisfied with the treatment as she kept telling the staff that his condition was constantly deteriorating, but no one heeded her."

But what is shocking is the fact that instead of giving a clear picture to the family of the boy, the doctors/hospital staff allegedly tampered with the report and changed the facts.
There are contradictory details with the signatures of the same doctors. The first report does not carry any date or time while the second one carries it. Also, there is a disparity in the symptoms, treatment, heart rate and even in the final diagnosis. The time of the cardiac arrest in one report is stated to be 9am while the other report states it to be 9.10am. The heart rate is 40 per minute in one report and 60 per minute in the other. Similarly, in one report the final diagnosis says pneumonia and electrolyte imbalance while the other report does not mention this.

Both the reports say that the boy was declared dead by Dr Sujata Bhatti, senior resident and paediatrician, who was called to resuscitate the child. 
Dr Bhatti, when contacted, said she declared the boy dead, but was not aware of the two reports. "My duty starts at 9am and I was called to resuscitate the child at 9.20am, but I could not revive him despite trying my best and declared him dead at 9.40am," she said.

Dr PL Chaudhary, medical superintendent of the hospital, said she had constituted a committee to inquire into the mater. The team comprised Dr Seema, Dr PK Sikka and hospital matrons. She said she had also requested the medical superintendent of the local Dayanand Medical College and Hospital to depute a paediatrician to be part of the inquiry committee. The committee would submit the report by November 26, she added.  

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