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Max Hospital wanted Rs 50 lakh to keep baby in nursery, father tells police

The father of the baby, who was found alive after being declared by the Delhi hospital, has alleged that the doctors said the infant would need ventilator support and it would cost around Rs 50 lakh.

cities Updated: Dec 03, 2017 12:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Max Hospital,Delhi,Baby
The Delhi Police on Saturday sent a notice to the Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh to join the probe, two days after the facility declared a baby dead who was found to be alive by the family. (HT Photo )

The father of an infant who was wrongly declared dead by a private hospital in Delhi has alleged that the doctors demanded Rs 50 lakh to keep the baby alive and another Rs 35,000 to improve the chances of his wife’s survival.

These accusations are part of the FIR have registered by police on the complaint of Ashish Kumar, the father of the baby boy declared dead by the Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh on November 30.

The baby, who was born prematurely, was found to be alive when the family was taking the “body” for final rites. His twin sister was still born.

“Doctors said if we keep the baby in the nursery, it will cost Rs 50 lakh,” Kumar told the police.

Expressing concern, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday demanded a law to “check negligence and loot” by private hospitals.

“Whereas we value the independence of pvt hospitals and do not wish to interfere in their functioning, however, there ought to be a legal framework to check open loot and criminal negligence by a few blacksheep,” he tweeted on Sunday.

Kumar, quoting doctors treating the critically ill baby at another hospital, also told police the infant had contracted an infection after being wrapped in a plastic bag by the Max Hospital.

At the time of admission, the doctors also said his wife, Varsha, had 15% chances of survival and advised three injections costing Rs 35,000, Kumar alleged.

His father-in-law, Praveen Malik, had told Hindustan Times on Saturday the hospital had said the boy could survive but would require months of ventilator support that would cost around Rs 45-50 lakh.

The Delhi Police have registered a case of attempt to culpable homicide against the hospital, which has called the incident unfortunate and sent the doctor concerned on leave awaiting inquiry.

The hospital was yet to respond to the notice to join the investigation, deputy commissioner of police north-west Aslam Khan said on Sunday.

“We are also analysing the medical records and the CCTV footage to establish who were the doctors responsible for the treatment and we will question them,” she said.

The Delhi government, too, has initiated a probe and health minister Satyendar Jain has said the hospital could lose licence if found guilty of negligence.

Though there was a slight improvement in the baby’s condition, he continued to be critical, Kumar’s brother Deepak said.

The Max Hospital case comes a few days after the family of a seven-year-old girl who died of dengue complained that they were charged Rs 18 lakh for the treatment by the Fortis Hospital in Gurgaon.

Besides expensive medicines, they were billed for 660 syringes and 2,700 gloves during her 15-day hospital stay, they said.

India’s public healthcare system is woefully inadequate, battling shortage of equipment and staff.

The country has a little over one million modern medicine doctors to treat its population of 1.3 billion people. Of these, only around 10% work in the public health sector, the National Health Profile 2017 data shows.

People have little choice but to turn to private hospitals, which are expensive and often accused of overcharging and negligence.

First Published: Dec 03, 2017 12:37 IST