Medical council directs Grande Hospital to furnish clarification over infant medical negligence claimThe hospital is accused of putting a newborn through an ordeal of multiple surgeries and high-dose medication.
Nepal Medical Council, the national regulatory body of medical practitioners, has directed Grande International Hospital to furnish clarification on why it should not face action for negligence during the treatment of Rihan, who was born at the health facility 15 months ago.
The council sought a clarification from the hospital on Sunday as per the report prepared by a panel formed to investigate into the allegations made by the child’s father, Sanjeev Chandra Neupane.
"We have directed the hospital to furnish clarification within seven days," said Dr Dhundiraj Poudel, chief of the ethical committee of the council. "Appropriate action will be taken after the hospital submits its clarification."
The council had formed a probe team headed by Dr Ganesh Rai to investigate into the complaints lodged by Neupane who has accused the hospital doctors of making a series of mistakes while treating his newborn son.
The council has said administering a high dose of paracetamol to the baby during treatment was a serious mistake. The council also said it found misunderstanding between the radiologists and treating neurosurgeons regarding the size of ventricles and cyst, and that the findings were not clearly explained to the family members.
The probe team also found a lack of uniformity among the doctors involved in the treatment, which according to the council shows that doctors failed in counselling, briefing and coordinating.
Radiologists at the hospital had recommended CT and MRI tests after conducting an ultrasound of the baby’s brain, but the hospital delayed the test.
"An MRI test was needed when there was no improvement in the patient while receiving treatment," states the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Post. "But the test was not carried out on time. Due to which the complication could not be diagnosed on time, which is the main weakness [on the part of the hospital] in this case."
After the condition of the baby deteriorated, the hospital prepared Rihan for sixth surgery without taking the consent of the family, which shows a lack of seriousness of the hospital on human sensitivity, according to the report.
Rihan's father, who had lodged a complaint at the council demanding an investigation into the hospital’s negligence, said that he would now seek legal measures based on the report furnished by the council's probe team.
The baby, who was born through cesarean delivery on June 26, 2018, was kept in the intensive care unit within half an hour of birth. Doctors at the hospital carried five surgeries on the newborn to remove pus accumulated in his head.
"My son cannot feel anything," Neupane told the Post.
Dr Chakra Raj Pandey, director at the Grande International Hospital, however, defended his hospital and said that the hospital administration would furnish its explanation and that it was ready for further discussion.
“The hospital had given the antidote to lessen side effects of the high dose of paracetamol and had taken all necessary measures to mitigate risks. We had also informed the relatives about the condition of the patient,” Pandey told the Post.
He said that the allegations of medical error or negligence on the part of the hospital were baseless.
"We have furnished 149 pages of documents to the council about the treatment of the baby," said Dr Pandey. "I am ready to discuss further with the council members and experts about the issue."
He said that the CT and MRI scans were conducted based on the judgment of the doctors involved and not on the recommendation of radiologists.
With the hospital refusing to accept medical negligence, there is no clarity what action the council will initiate.
Poudel, chief of the ethical committee of the council, said a meeting of the 14-member full house of the council will be called soon for a decision. “The next step will be based on the decision which will be taken by a two-thirds majority.”
Neupane, meanwhile, said he feared some manipulation given the lobbying that has been going on against his case for some time, as all those involved are “powerful” people.