In the latest instance, what’s most ironic is that the child contracted the fatal infection inside an ‘infection free environment’, for which the family was charged extra.
A police complaint has been filed in the case.
Complainant Sanjeev Sharma, an exporter, lives in Delhi’s Ranjeet Nagar. The family was blessed with twins — a boy and a girl — after 16 years of marriage. That belated happiness was shortlived, though, as son Vansh — suffering from Hunter Syndrome — a genetic disorder caused by deficiency of enzymes — died of bacterial infection in a ‘sterile room’ at the hospital on May 17, 2017, after he underwent a bone marrow transplant (BMT). Unable to bear the shock, Sharma’s 80-year-old father, too, died soon after. Sharma is reportedly suffering from depression.
Vansh was admitted to Fortis on April 24, 2017. The transplant was done on May 1, after which the child had fever and was administered antibiotics.
As his condition worsened, Vansh was shifted to a ventilator in the PICU ward on May 15. On May 17, the family got him discharged under ‘leaving against medical advice’ (LAMA). The child was taken home where a doctor from a Patel Nagar (South) nursing home declared him dead.
Against a projected figure of Rs 13 lakh, the family was eventually charged Rs 27 lakh for the 24 days of hospitalisation and treatment, which included 22 days in a ‘sterile BMT room’ and 2 days in PICU.
“My child died in what was promised to be the safest place for a vulnerable patient. However, to our eyes, the room didn’t appear as promised. Vansh was already low on immunity. They later insisted on continuing hospitalisation and we had to struggle to get his body out. For all we know, he was dead on May 15,” Sharma told TOI.
Sharma filed a complaint at the office of the chief medical officer on September 6, 2017, alleging medical negligence. The inquiry by the district medical boardobserved Vansh had received appropriate treatment for BMT, but contacted infection in the hospital, which was fatal.
The report states: “The hospital is responsible for providing an infection-free environment to such patients. It had provided a sterile BMT room and charged separately for that. Yet, it could not provide an infection-free environment. This led to complications and the patient died.”
“The board has not found any negligence in treatment, but stated the hospital is responsible for the infection,” said Dr Sanjay Narula, general surgeon, who was a member of the board. On the basis of the report, Sharma filed a police complaint on Thursday.
“We’ve received the complaint, but we’ll seek medical opinion before registering a FIR,” said inspector Sudeep Kumar, SHO of Sushant Lok police station.
In its statement, Fortis Healthcare said: “While we’ve not received any formal information from any authority, we strongly refute allegations of negligence in the case related to Master Vansh. He was suffering from Hunter Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder with high mortality, for which he underwent BMT. The family was informed about risks and benefits and all consents were taken. The child was treated as per best medical protocol. While the family’s pain and despair is understandable, blaming doctors and hospital is unfair.”