The Delhi Medical Council (DMC) has given clean chit to the two doctors of Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh who were accused of wrongly declaring a newborn baby dead. The committee set up to investigate the matter found few procedural lapses which led to the mishap.
The order said, “There have been procedural lapses and inadequate documentation which is probably due to the absence of standard operating guidelines when managing such cases (cases of birth before 23 weeks of gestation).”
The incident happened in November last year when the baby and his twin sister were prematurely born on November 30 at the Max Hospital. The parents claimed that the newborns were declared stillborn after which they were handed over to them in plastic bags. However, on the way to perform the last rites of the babies, the parents found that the male baby was alive. Following this, a case of medical negligence was filed and the Delhi Government cancelled the registration of the hospital.
A three-member government committee prima facie found that there was “gross medical negligence on part of the hospital authorities”. However, on December 20, the hospital continued operating saying that that it had appealed to stay the cancellation.
The two doctors, Dr Ajay Prakash Mehta and Dr Vishal Gupta, related to this case were suspended by the hospital.
TLI speaks to Dr Mehta
The Logical Indian spoke to Dr Ajay Prakash Mehta who was suspended by the hospital following the uproar for allegedly wrongly stating that the baby was stillborn. Dr Mehta said, “ Any baby born prematurely, within 22-23 weeks of gestation period has a low chance of survival and even if the baby survives, it is highly likely that it may have developmental problems. Informing about all the possibilities we give the parents a choice on whether or not they wish to resuscitate the baby. This is the standard procedure followed even in countries like the United States of America and Australia.”
Dr Mehta told The Logical Indian that the same was informed to the parents in this case and they had signed on the “Do Not Resuscitate” document.
The female baby died whereas there was no clear communication about the male baby. On asked why there was a miscommunication about the male baby, Dr Mehta said, “The parents were very young. The mother was barely 20 years old and the father too seemed young. They were accompanied by many of their relatives and the grandparents of the couple seemed to be the one making decisions and the details were communicated to them. Even the document on ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ was signed by the father of the baby and the uncle”.
Dr Mehta said that no formal document stating the death of the male baby nor the death certificate was issued. Same was established in the DMC report.
On asked what is the status on their suspension now that they have been issued clean chit by the DMC, Dr Mehta said, “I have not received any communication on this from the hospital.”
“The initial investigation carried out by the Delhi government which said that there was a negligence on part of the doctors and hospital was incorrect. This wrong investigation led to the uproar which was further fanned by the media. The suspension from the hospital which followed ruined our careers”, Dr Mehta said.
Dr Mehta said that many a times relatives create a furore in cases like these and even cause physical damage to the doctors. “I would like to say that the relatives should not start talking law in their own hands and harm the doctors. And in cases where it has been informed of grim chances of survival, the relatives should make a decision by weighing all the possibilities. Many times, even after informing them of all the outcomes, relatives later turn to the doctor and blame them in case of any mishap.”