Cancellation of Max Hospital’s License Doing More Harm Than Good?
More than fifty angry people were shouting “Kejriwal murdabad” and protesting outside Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh under the midday sun on Saturday. Reason? Patients and their families don’t know where else to go, now that they are being denied treatment at the hospital.
While some feel this will be a deterrent for private hospitals to stop functioning irresponsibly and is a good move by the Kerjiwal government, others believe it’s a knee-jerk reaction which will do more harm than good.
So, what about the people who are regular patients there? What about emergencies that reach the hospital? How does this sudden cancellation affect people on the ground?
Patients Left In the Lurch?
30-year-old Sanjeev waves the test prescription of his relative from their previous check-ups and says angrily:
There are some complications in my sister-in-law’s pregnancy. The doctors here at Max told us to get some tests done. When we came here for that today, we were turned away as the the hospital is shut. Who will take responsibility if something happens to the baby? Arvind Kejriwal, Satyendar Jain or the investigating committee?
Most of these people protesting outside the hospital were from the economically weaker sections (EWS).
Is there any other hospital close by where they can go instead? A man from the crowd answers:
The Delhi government’s guidelines to private hospitals direct them to provide inexpensive treatment to the economically disadvantaged. Ironically, it is the same government that has now revoked the hospital’s license, stranding several of these patients.
The recalcitrant crowd’s response? Chants of “Kejriwal murdabad” and “Hospital chaalu karo”.
As we interview protesting patients outside the hospital, a woman comes forward and screams,
The families of patients and the staff of hospitals are typically seen at loggerheads with each other. Yet, the cancellation of Max’s licence seems to have brought them on the same side.
A 'Habitual Offender'? Did Max Have It Coming?
While many from within and outside the medical fraternity have questioned the cancellation, the Delhi government has stuck to its guns.
Describing the hospital as a habitual offender, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said the hospital’s license was cancelled after it was found guilty in three other cases.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal did not mince his words either.
However, when The Quint asked the hospital about these notices, they said all of them were responded to and resolved.
What About Emergencies?
The hospital says they’re not allowed to take any new patients and only carry on the treatment of those already admitted. But with several emergencies coming their way, the authorities at Max say they’re doing an immediate examination and tending only to the life-threatening cases. In all other cases, patients are being referred to other hospitals.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Dr Kishalay Datta, in charge of the emergency wing at Max, recounts how he was scrambling to get a pregnant woman in labour admitted elsewhere.
Govt Decision Disproportionate or Deserved?
This is not a case of negligence. Errors do happen. And look, Max was quick to react. We had an internal committee investigate the matter. The services of the errant doctors was terminated. For the government to cancel the hospital’s licence even after that is harsh and disproportionate.s Abdul Wajid, Spokesperson, Max Hosp
The president of Indian Medical Association, Dr KK Aggarwal, argues that action should have been initiated against those who are at fault but only after a proper inquiry by the Delhi Medical Council. He added that such incidents occur at government hospitals as well and if licenses are cancelled like this, all the healthcare facilities would have to be shut down.
Medical experts argue that even if the license had to be cancelled, an appropriate notice period should have been given to the hospital so that patients do not suffer.
According to the Delhi Nursing Home Registration Act, 1953, the government needs to give notice of 30 days before cancelling a licence. Responding to a question on the notice period, Satyendar Jain said it did not apply, reported The Hindu.
While patients stranded outside the hospital wait for a solution, where does the medication for this mess lie?
Video Editor: Ashish Maccune
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