The death of another child due to dengue allegedly after being turned away from hospitals — the second such case in a week — led Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to conduct surprise inspections of hospitals on Tuesday and discuss possibility of an assembly session to frame a law to deal with “negligence” of private hospitals.
The Delhi government on Tuesday also issued instructions to schools to ensure that for the next one month, students wear clothes which fully cover them irrespective of school uniforms.
Health Minister Satyendra Jain meanwhile met officials of private hospitals and told them to increase the number of beds, and not turn away dengue patients.
He said government hospitals, if needed, can hold walk-in interviews to recruit more doctors and nurses.
Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda on Tuesday directed all hospitals under the central government that no suspected dengue patient should be denied treatment and the bed strength, if needed, should be increased to accommodate all such patients.
A 29-year-old woman from northwest Delhi died of dengue at the Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash (LNJP) Hospital on Monday evening.
According to data till Monday by the three civic corporations — North Delhi Municipal Corporation (North DMC), South DMC and East DMC — the number of dengue deaths was five and the total cases were 1,872.
The family members of six-year-old Aman, who died at the Holy Family Hospital where he was taken in a critical condition on Sunday, claimed he was denied admission by four hospitals before being admitted in the fifthl.
“My son had fever and we took him to Safdarjung Hospital but we were told by the hospital that the boy was doing fine and that there was no problem,” Aman’s father Manoj Sharma told media.
“We first took him to Godrej Memorial Hospital where his tests were done, then to Safdarjung, Jeevan hospital, Moolchand and again to Safdarjung before taking him to Holy Family hospital. I had to take him everywhere on my bike. I neither got an ambulance nor had enough money to hire an auto,” he added.
He said when Aman’s condition deteriorated that night, he was taken to Jeevan Nursing Home but the family was told to take him to a bigger hospital.
He said the boy was then taken to Moolchand late Saturday but denied admission there as they said there were no beds available.
“I also made telephonic calls to Max and Batra hospitals to ask if beds were available there. Even they replied in negative,” said Sharma.
Aman was then rushed to Safdarjung hospital again early in the morning on Sunday. “At Safdarjung hospital, they took my son to a ward but did not treat him properly and were very casual. So, we rushed him to Holy Family Hospital where he died,” said Sharma.
“The cause of the death, according to the hospital reports is dengue,” Sharma said.
The Safdarjung Hospital in a statement said the parents had taken the child away on their own after medicines were prescribed to him.
“The patient Aman came to our hospital on September 13 (Sunday) at 4.44 a.m. and was admitted to the hospital. We came to know from his parents that he was given two units of platelets.
“The patient was sent to ward 18 and after investigations, medicines were prescribed. His parents took him away at 5.30 a.m. without informing the hospital. We are thoroughly investigating the matter,” the statement added.
The authorities at the Holy Family said Aman was was brought in a critical condition.
“His (Aman) platelet count had dipped, so we had to transfuse blood platelets into him, but it was too late and we could not save him. He was kept in the paediatric intensive care unit but died in the evening,” said its director, Rev. Father George.
Last week, seven-year-old Avinash Rout from Odisha died of dengue and subsequently, his parents committed suicide by jumping from the fourth floor of the building they lived in.
Avinash too was allegedly denied admission by five hospitals — Moolchand Hospital, Aakash Hospital, Saket City Hospital, Max Hospital (Saket) and Irene Hospital (Kalkaji).
The Delhi government on Tuesday ordered a magisterial inquiry into the alleged refusal by some private hospitals to admit Avinash and sought a report within seven days.
Kejriwal, who along with Jain conducted surprise inspections at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital and Dr Hedgewar Hospital, asked the doctors to treat the patients properly and not to turn them away, while appealing to people not to panic.
He also assured of strict action against hospitals which turn away patients citing any excuse.
Kejriwal later held a cabinet meeting which discussed “the possibility of convening a special session of the Delhi assembly to implement the option which the government will finalise to deal with negligence of private hospitals”.