The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Court orders Apollo FIR
- Hospital accused of misleading investigators

New Delhi, June 8: Apollo Hospital came under a cloud today with a Delhi court asking police to register a first information report against its doctors and management for giving investigators false information on Rahul Mahajan.

The court said the police ' who accused the hospital of tampering with evidence and overwriting entries ' could seize relevant records of the hospital, including its casualty registers and pathology reports.

Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Kamini Lau had earlier gone through the forensic reports on Rahul and the hospital’s discharge summary, which contains in brief the entire sequence of Rahul’s treatment.

The police alleged the records pointed to mismatches in the time when and condition in which Rahul was moved across departments in the hospital.

Doctors unconnected with the case have expressed surprise how a patient could be discharged from a hospital four days after being put on ventilator support.

“A patient ill enough to require ventilator support is usually not discharged from the hospital for at least a week,” said a doctor with two decades of experience working in intensive care units.

The court directed the Sarita Vihar police station in south Delhi, where the hospital is located, to register an FIR under Section 182 (giving false information to a public servant) under the Indian Penal Code.

A senior police officer said the hospital would be charged under sections dealing “with causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screen offender”.

A day after an unconscious Rahul was rushed to its casualty room, the hospital had said it had no evidence that he had taken banned drugs, and that his urine tests had revealed values of illicit substances that were “within permissible limits”.

Outside doctors had questioned the concept of “permissible limits” for banned drugs, saying traces of cocaine or opiates cannot be found in people who haven’t taken them. They also said the hospital’s action of making public the test results of a patient is a breach of medical ethics.

Apollo Hospital doctors said they had obtained permission from Rahul’s family before releasing the information. But they declined to say whether the decision to release the results was the family’s or the hospital’s.

The Indian Medical Council (professional conduct, etiquette, and ethics) Regulations, 2002, states: “Confidences concerning individual or domestic life entrusted by patients to a physician and defects in the disposition or character of patients observed during medical attendance should never be revealed unless their revelation is required by the laws of the state.”

The hospital today declined to comment on the police statements, saying only that it was cooperating with the investigations. Hospital sources said the doctors who had issued statements about Rahul’s condition spent some time today with lawyers.

Tests at a private laboratory in Delhi had revealed traces of several illegal substances including opiates, cannabinoids and cocaine in Rahul’s urine sample.

Rahul and Bibek Moitra, a key aide of the late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, were brought to the hospital in the early hours of June 2, soon after a late night party.

While Moitra was declared dead on arrival, Rahul was admitted in a critical condition, and eventually discharged on June 6, to be immediately taken into police custody.

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