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Sanjay Gandhi Hospital in Amethi shut over ‘medical negligence’, Cong accuses BJP of vendetta

After the UP Health Department suspended the licence of Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Amethi following the death of a 22-year-old woman in a case of alleged medical negligence, the Congress on Wednesday accused the BJP government in the state of carrying out “political vendetta” by “targeting” the hospital, run by a Trust whose chairperson is Sonia Gandhi.

While the hospital authorities said they would move the court against the suspension of licence, the Congress said they would launch a movement against the government’s decision.

The 100-bed Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, the foundation stone of which was laid by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1982, has been in operation in Munshiganj area of Amethi since 1989.

On Sunday, police registered a case of death by medical negligence against four employees of the hospital, including its chief executive officer, over the death of a 22-year-old woman.

The woman was admitted to the hospital on September 14 morning after she complained of a stomach ache. As her condition worsened before undergoing gallbladder surgery, she was referred to a private hospital in Lucknow where she died on September 16. The family of the woman alleged that she died because of an anaesthesia overdose at the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital and an FIR was registered on September 17.

Taking cognizance of the incident, district health officials also ordered a probe and constituted a three-member inquiry team, led by Additional Chief Medical Officer. On September 18, the hospital’s licence was suspended by district health officials, citing prima facie evidence of medical negligence.

“On the basis of shortcomings found in the preliminary investigation, orders have been given to issue a notice to the hospital administration for seeking a clarification under the Clinical Act,” UP Deputy CM and Health Minister Brajesh Pathak said on Tuesday and warned the hospital of sealing of its premises if found involved in recklessness.

“We are going to appeal against the decision in the court. We were asked for an explanation about the September 14 incident by the officials and were given three months’ time, but orders were issued to suspend the licence of the hospital in the next 24 hours. We are not denying the incident and there can be an inquiry into it. An FIR has already been lodged,” Wing Commander (retd) Manoj Muttu, the administer of Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Trust, told The Indian Express.

“My submission as the representative of the Trust is that it is possible (of such an incident) even in government hospitals. But to close down the entire hospital with 450 staff, 600 nursing students, 200 paramedic students, without giving an opportunity to explain is justified under what rule? Therefore, we are going to make an appeal,” Muttu said.

“Twelve surgeries that took place on that day (September 14) and about 10 operations, mainly of orthopaedic, general surgery and gynae, take place every day at the hospital,” he added.

Chief Medical Officer (Amethi) Anshuman Singh said that while the hospital was served a notice seeking an explanation in three months, the decision to suspend the licence was taken after prima facie evidence of laxity was found in the preliminary inquiry.

“Such incidents happen, but not only did they not conduct prior medical tests… but even after diagnosing the problem of the patient, they kept her for another 10-12 hours before referring her to another hospital leading to her death. Our inquiry found that doctors as well as the administration were guilty of negligence and recommended the cancellation of the hospital’s licence. If they are not satisfied, then further inquiry can be conducted by a bigger team,” Dr Anshuman Singh told The Indian Express.

Meanwhile, Congress leader KL Sharma said criticised the government’s decision. “While the law would do its work, the way the hospital was closed down is not right. The one who is guilty should be punished and not the entire organisation. The hospital has been serving the people of Amethi for decades and now a lock has been put on it. The hospital is not of the Congress, it caters to all,” Sharma said and expressed sympathy for the family of the 22-year-old woman.

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“There should be no politics over this. There would be many occasions to do politics in the future but this is not the one,” he added.

State Congress president Ajay Rai on Wednesday wrote to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, requesting to “immediately withdraw the suspension of license order”. “For the people of rural areas, this hospital provides cardiology, nephrology, gastro, dermatology, pulmonary, ENT, paediatrics among others as well as emergency services, blood bank… The hospital provides these services at s nominal charge or free in some cases,” Rai wrote, expressing hope that the chief minister “with his positive direction would ensure that injustice is not done towards people of Amethi and the employees and doctors of the hospital”.

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District Congress leaders also submitted a memorandum to the district administration against the decision.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

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