Two weeks following allegations of medical negligence in a Powai, Mumbai nursing home, civic health authorities have issued an order to "discontinue" work at the nursing home "or face further legal action".
While nursing home authorities have raised several objections in their letter to the BMC commissioner Jairaj Phatak, health officials simply say the notice was sent since the nursing home had not renewed it's mandatory annual registration.
The notice sent to Dr Shailaja Patwardhan who runs Shree Hospital on September 4 reads: "You are running a nursing home without registration required under Section 3 of the Bombay Nursing Home Registration Act 1949."
When asked about the notice, BMC's medical officer Dr A M Gaikwad told reporters that the nursing home held a valid license till March 2007, but failed to renew it after that. "If they apply for a renewal by Tuesday and meet all the parameters, we will renew their registration," he was quoted. Otherwise, he continued, the BMC would serve another legal notice and the matter would be presented in court.
The Shree Hospital had come into the limelight after a 20-year-old resident from Kadam Chawl in Vikhroli, Poonam Salvi died after delivering a healthy baby boy on August 29. Her husband Santosh had alleged medical negligence. In his complaint to the police, Santosh had alleged that Poonam had not been given the required care and that doctors had tried to abandon the patient by quickly shifting her to Rajawadi Hospital.
While police officials are still investigating the case, the civic notice gives a blow by stating that the nursing home did not hold a license to practice in the first place.
Nursing home officials, however, claim the BMC's notice has caused "great anxiety and loss of mental health" to the doctors. "The letter was not dated and makes it sound as though we were not at all registered, which is untrue," says Dr Patwardhan, adding that she had applied for a renewal last month. Pointing out that as an ayurvedic practitioner, she has the right to practice as per the Central Council of Indian Medicine, Dr Patwardhan stresses she has conducted 60 deliveries till now.
Her lawyers who have written to the BMC say: "Such a letter will have very serious and adverse consequences against our client," stating that the letter was not delivered to the hospital address, but at the doctor's residential address.
About the objections, Dr Gaekwad says he would consult his seniors. He however clearly adds that investigations into negligence are beyond his purview.