Delhi’s private hospitals under observation by officials

Top hospitals, including one at the centre of a storm after incorrectly declaring a baby was dead, are under scrutiny following hundreds of of complaints. 

Delhi Medical Council (DMC), which keeps a close watch on the functioning of the hospitals in the city, receives at least 30 serious grievances every month.

These numbers paint a grim picture, more so against the backdrop of a serious, recent incident of alleged medical negligence at Max Healthcare (Shalimar Bagh) and Fortis Hospital (Gurugram).

New Delhi: People protest outside Max Hospital where a newborn baby was wrongly declared dead

Dr Arun Gupta

Dr Arun Gupta

‘We receive 25-30 complaints per month and at least 200-300 complaints per year,’ Dr Arun Gupta, president, DMC said. 

The complaints that the council receives are related to medical negligence, inflated bills, quacks practicing medicine or running their clinics. 

Dr Gupta added that the DMC receives the highest number of complaints of all state medical councils combined. 

‘We have around 60,000 doctors registered with the council. All doctors practicing modern medical science, that is allopathy, have to be registered with the DMC. Both private and government doctors have to renew their registration every five years,’ he said.

Suresh, who was diagnosed with a heart complication, did not receive treatment he required

Suresh, who was diagnosed with a heart complication, did not receive treatment he required

According to a council official, top hospitals which are allegedly under scrutiny include Max Healthcare, along with the BLK, Apollo, Sir Ganga Ram, Metro, Rockland, St Stephen, Balaji, Jaipur Golden, Hedgewar, Lady Hardinge, Maharja Agrasen, and Madan Mohan Malviya hospitals. 

‘We receive direct complaints from the patient and their family members. The police and Directorate General of Health Services also inform us,’ said Dr Gupta. 

Talking about the process of investigating the complaints, he explained: ‘Once we receive a complaint, it is sent to the doctor concerned, and the hospital. 

‘Based on their response and supporting documents, the case is examined by the executive committee of the DMC. If there is prima facie evidence, then we refer it to our disciplinary committee, which is a larger body that also includes three non-doctors. 

‘Then both parties are questioned, and later the report is placed before the whole council which finally approves the decision.’ 

Complaints received by the DMC relate to accusations of medical negligence and inflated bills 

Complaints received by the DMC relate to accusations of medical negligence and inflated bills 

The council has recently brought all state medical councils of the country under one roof, and discussed various issues to make laws more practical. 

‘Complaints against these top hospitals are under the consideration of DMC. Our executive committee examines each and every case very seriously,’ said Dr Girish Tyagi, registrar at the council. 

The recent death of twins at Max Healthcare in Shalimar Bagh and a baby girl at Fortis Hospital in Gurugram, as well as other issues of medical negligence and inflated bills, have exacerbated the situation and attracted public ire towards the healthcare industry in the capital. 

The Delhi government has cancelled Max Hospital's licence

The Delhi government has cancelled Max Hospital’s licence

In the case of Max Healthcare, this week the Delhi government took the strongest course of action and cancelled the hospital’s licence. 

Delhi’s health minister Satyendar Jain told Mail Today: ‘Delhi government has cancelled the licence of Max Healthcare in Shalimar Bagh over [alleged] medical negligence in the twins’ case. 

‘The incident is a case of criminal medical negligence and is not acceptable at all.’

Jain added: ‘If, in the future, cases of medical laxity come up at any private hospitals, none of the hospitals would be spared. Stringent action will be taken against them.’