Inquire into Fortis overcharging: Centre to Haryana

Doctor with piggy bank and hammer
Doctor with piggy bank and hammer
Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan

Day after the internet exploded about reports of how Fortis Hospital Gurugram had run a bill of more than Rs 15 lakh for the treatment of a 7-year-old dengue patient, Union health secretary Preeti Sudan has written to the principal secretary health in Haryana asking him to institute an inquiry into the incident.

“Such incidents have an extremely deleterious impact on the faith of the general public in the healthcare system in the country. It is our duty to ensure that quality care and treatment is provided to persons in need and that it is provided at a fair and affordable price. I request you to urgently initiate an inquiry into the whole incident,” Sudan has written to Haryana principal secretary health and family welfare Amit Jha.

The reference is to the death of seven-year-old Aadya Singh who died in the Gurugram Hospital in September this year.

Just before Aadya, who had suffered more than 70% brain damage was taken off the ventilator after two weeks of hospitalisation, her father was billed Rs 15,59,322, including the price of 611 syringes – the figure would mean Aadya was given 43 injections every day – and 1546 pair of gloves.

The massive accumulation of fluid in her body meant that Aadya would not fit into the clothes that she had come to the hospital in. Also included in the bill is Rs 900 as the cost of the hospital gown the little girl wore when she was taken out of Fortis to a different hospital where they would issue her a death certificate.

Fortis on its part has issued a detailed statement about the complications Aadya had developed as a result of dengue and the steps taken for her treatment. “At each step, patient’s family was briefed about the critical condition of the child. On 12.09.17, a multidisciplinary consult team (MDCT) also met with the patient’s relatives including her father and told them about the guarded prognosis of the child, which was documented in IPD records and signed by the patient’s father. On 14.09.17, a MRI Brain was done after explaining to the parents, the possible complications of transfer in such a critically ill child. MRI brain showed diffuse leptomeningeal enhancement and extensive hemorrhages, which suggested a poor outcome. Patient’s family was again explained about the critical condition of the child, after which they took the decision to take the child Leave Against Medical Advice (LAMA),” the statement said