BBMP files police complaints against two top hospitals
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has issued show cause notices to four private laboratories, besides sealing two as they had failed to upload RT-PCR test results on the ICMR portal on time. This, despite the civic body directing them to upload the results within 24 hours.
The long wait is not only a source of anxiety for citizens at a time when Bengaluru is tackling an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, but is also resulting in people losing precious time seeking treatment. The delay in uploading the RT-PCR test results on the ICMR portal is affecting the generation of BU number by the civic body, said officials. Hospitals require a BU number to admit patients.
BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta acknowledged that they have been receiving complaints regarding delay in BU-code generation due to COVID-19 test results not being uploaded on the ICMR portal by a few labs. The KPME registration of Medall Laboratory, Aarthi Scans and Labs, RV Metropolis laboratory, and BGS Global Medical College lab has been suspended with immediate effect and the issue has been referred to ICMR to revoke the approval for COVID-19 testing in these labs. These labs have been given show cause notice and asked to provide an explanation within 48 hours as well, said Mr. Gupta.
Pvt. hospitals under fire
The BBMP is also actively monitoring hospitals. Over the last 10 days, it has filed police complaints against the top management of two well-known hospitals. Based on a complaint, the police have booked six people from Apollo Hospital on Bannerghatta Road under the Disaster Management Act for allegedly manipulating the data of COVID-19 patients.
Nagendra Kumar S., medical officer, Bommanahalli zone, who conducted a surprise inspection, unearthed a racket where the hospital was denying admission to new patients by updating the SAST portal to show that beds were booked even after recovered patients had been discharged.
During the inspection, Mr. Kumar found that bed availability data had been manipulated in three instances. A 71-year-old patient who was admitted on April 14, was discharged on April 20. However, the records on the portal showed the discharge date as April 24. In another case, a 79-year-old patient referred by BBMP succumbed to COVID-19 on April 20. The hospital charged the family to ₹2.4 lakh and continued to show him as admitted. A third patient was discharged on April 22, but was shown as admitted on April 25.
The Puttenahalli police on Sunday registered an FIR against senior hospital officials for cheating and also under sections of the Disaster Management Act. “We will issue a notice to the hospital seeking an explanation. Based on the investigation, legal action will be taken,” said a senior police official.
In another similar case, the police last week registered an FIR against Fortis Hospital on Bannerghatta Road under the Disaster Management Act and also under section 304(a), death due to negligence and section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), of IPC.
BBMP officials said the hospital had violated guidelines by allocating only 46 beds against the actual 169 beds to the civic body. “As per the complaint, on April 20, a patient was taken to the hospital on the recommendation from the BBMP. The hospital refused admission, citing non-availability of beds. Due to this, treatment for the patient at the critical three hours was delayed following which he succumbed by 6 p.m,” said the BBMP in the complaint.
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