New Delhi, May 19: Cardiac surgeon Naresh Trehan defied orders to quit and broke into his own office today in a “management-versus-medic” battle that has erupted at Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre.
Fortis Healthcare, which owns 90 per cent equity in Escorts, had announced yesterday that Trehan would no longer have operating rights or an office, but the surgeon today said he operated on eight patients.
“I can’t abandon my patients,” Trehan said. “No one can take away the right of a doctor to treat patients. People don’t come to this hospital for its design, its walls and its air-conditioning.”
Fortis said its decision to ask Trehan to resign as Escorts executive director was prompted by his interest in a proposed Rs 1,000-crore Medicity, a hospital and research project in Gurgaon.
Senior Fortis officials said Trehan’s involvement with the project was tantamount to helping set up potential competition and thus gave rise to a “conflict of interests”.
“We’ve had a long dialogue to resolve this conflict of interests through the possibility of a partnership, but our proposals were not acceptable to them and their proposals were unrealistic,” said Shivinder Mohan Singh, managing director of Escorts and Fortis.
“He can visit his patients, but he has no office and no operating rights any more.”
Trehan had returned from the US in the late 1980s to help establish the Escorts network of hospitals that has emerged among the nation’s top heart care centres.
Dozens of policemen and private security guards milled around in the Escorts hospital with riot control vans parked outside as angry attendants and relatives of patients demanded that Trehan be allowed to continue.
A relative of one patient managed to use the public address system in the hospital to express indignation that Trehan would not be able to operate before being chased away by security guards.
The Delhi Medical Association issued a statement condemning Trehan’s “unceremonious ouster”.