FIR against medical superintendent of Ganga Ram for not following protocols
The Delhi government has filed a first information report (FIR) against the medical superintendent of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Rajinder Nagar for not following protocols for testing patients with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The FIR was filed in June on the basis of a complaint by deputy secretary of Delhi’s department of health and family welfare, Amit Kumar Pamasi.
On June 3, the hospital was asked by the Delhi government in an order to stop Covid testing, citing violations of ICMR guidelines.
Since then, the 66-year-old hospital has not been testing people, affecting, apart from those suffering chronic symptoms of the coronavirus disease, others who have been admitted in the hospital for surgeries because they need to undergo a Covid test before being operated on.
The FIR has been filed under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code that allows a punishment of one month’s simple imprisonment and/or ₹200 fine or six months imprisonment and/ or ₹1,000 fine if the offence puts human life at risk. The section of the IPC can be invoked under the Epidemic Diseases Act that has been in force in Delhi since mid-March as the city battles the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite repeated calls and texts, joint commissioner of police (central range) Suvashis Choudhary, deputy commissioner of police (central) Sanjay Bhatia and Delhi police spokesperson MS Randhawa did not respond for comment.
“The order of Health and Family Welfare Department regarding guidelines for tracking and monitoring of every Covid-19 suspected cases tested in various accredited labs across Delhi wherein it was mandatory for the labs to collect sample only through the Delhi government’s RT-PCR App. Further CDMO (Chief District Medical Officer) cum mission director, Central, mentioned that Sir Ganga Ram hospital is still not using RT-PCR app even till today (03/06) which is a clear violation of direction issued under Epidemic Disease Covid-19 regulation 2020,” a copy of the FIR read.
RT-PCR is short for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, a test for determining if a person has been infected by Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
“Gangaram Hospital has not been following the protocols,” said a Delhi government spokesperson.
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital laboratory was among the seven labs in the city that were served show cause notices for allegedly flouting Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines for Covid-19 testing. On Wednesday, the government ordered that the hospital use 508 or 80% of its bed capacity for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
“There are two apps on which we have to upload the data of the patients that are being tested – one is the ICMR app and another is Delhi government’s RT-PCR app, the information from which is used by the Delhi government for contact tracing. However, there was some problems in uploading the data. We did not have many clerical staff during the lockdown. We have already apologised to the government and will rectify any problems from our end. We have asked the government to grant us access to the app again,” said Dr DS Rana, chairman of the board of management at Sir Gangaram Hospital.
The Delhi government has tightened its testing criteria to exclude any asymptomatic people (even those with direct contact with an infected person) without known co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer. People above the age of 60 who have come in contact with a Covid-19 positive case will be tested, according to the new guideline set by the Delhi government. The ICMR guidelines allow for the testing of asymptomatic direct contacts such as those living in the same household as an infected person.