Delhi HC forms medical board to look into death of toddler at Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh

A view of the Delhi High Court. File

A view of the Delhi High Court. File | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Delhi High Court has ordered the Maulana Azad Medical College to constitute a medical board to look into the death of a two-and-half-year-old child allegedly due to “negligence and malfeasance” at Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.

Justice Jasmeet Singh noted that the child, admitted for simple dysentery at Max Hospital with no known allergies or past history of illness died on February 9, 2020, and till date, after a period of almost two and a half years, there is no investigation in the matter for lack of medical opinion.

“I deem it fit that the complete medical record pertaining to the deceased child may be sent to the Dean, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi to constitute a medical board and give their report within a period of 6 weeks,” the high court said on July 21.

The high court said the father and mother of the deceased, Mr. Himanshu Singhal and Ms. Megha SInghal, must be informed of the meeting of the Committee and they shall be permitted to participate in the proceedings of the Committee.

Mr. Singhal said he took his son to Max Hospital on February 5 as the child showed symptoms of fever, cough, loose stools and running nose. The doctor at the hospital diagnosed the sickness as “simple dysentery” and advised the child’s admission to the hospital to enable his re-hydration.

The next day, a surgeon came to review the child for the first time and based only on a “visual and negligent examination” done from a distance, the surgeon diagnosed the child as suffering from acute Anal Fissure and prescribed a contraindicated drug in loose motions — Movicol — which is a strong laxative used to treat chronic constipation, Mr. Singhal said.

Soon after administration of Movicol, the child was continuously passing uncontrolled excessive urine and his condition deteriorated, Mr. Singhal said.

“To hoodwink and misguide, several tests [including a painful lumbar puncture test] were performed on the child only for the doctors to pretend that they were doing their best to ascertain the mysterious cause of sudden deterioration despite already having ‘exclusive knowledge’ in their domain,” he said.

In order to hide negligence, prevent death at their centre and avoid legal consequences, on February 7, 2020, the child was shifted to their sister branch Max Super Speciality Hospital Saket in an extreme unstable and shock condition, Mr. Singhal said.

The child finally died on February 9, 2020, and no satisfactory reason has ever been provided by the hospitals and the doctors involved for the cause, the father said adding that instead, both the hospitals and all doctors have “conspired to hide the facts and the truth”.

Advocates Hardeep Singh Sodhi and Sachin Jain, representing Mr. Singhal, argued that the hospitals have even refused to provide ‘complete medical records’ pertaining to the deceased child. The advocates said the parents have been running from pillar to post asking for justice.

While the investigating officer has been insisting to seek the “expert opinion” from the Delhi Medical Council (DMC), advocates Sodhi and Jain raised apprehension that DMC being an elected body of Doctors, the big hospitals exert considerable clout and influence over DMC.

The high court will hear the case again on October 17.

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Printable version | Oct 4, 2022 9:02:26 am |