Thursday, October 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ranga’s treatment: panel submits report
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Oct 4 — The line of diagnosis adopted by Indraprastha Apollo Hospital here did not cover former Union Power Minister, P.R. Kumaramangalam’s immune status on account of intermittent treatment and non-specific general clinical presentation, according to the findings of the inquiry committee of medical experts appointed by the government to probe all aspects of treatment provided to him at the aforesaid hospital.

The report released today by the Ministry of Health was submitted it on September 11. It says, “However, by hindsight, it can reasonably be concluded that had he returned to the hospital with persisting symptoms, a different diagnostic approach may have been adopted.”

Interestingly, the report comes a day before the scheduled conference by the Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Enterpise Limited, Dr Prathap C. Reddy. Dr Reddy is to share the facts on Mr Kumaramangalam’s case and treatment and present the vision behind Apollo hospital.

The Secretary (Health), Mr Javed Chowdhury, told TNS here this evening that he is aware of Dr Reddy’s meeting with the Press. Asked whether any punitive acion would be taken against Apollo, Mr Chowdhury said, “We have stated everything in the inquiry committee report.” The six-member committee headed by Dr C.P. Singh, Medical Superintendent of Ram Manohar Hospital, procured original case records of Kumaramangalam’s treatment at Apollo Hospital and the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences. The committee addressed itself to the question whether there was any need for investigation of Kumaramangalam’s immune status. It found that several tests indicated an inadequate polymorpho nuclear leucocyte response to sepsis by the bone marrow. The committee has assessed that consultations with the clinical haematologist was warranted to evaluate the former minister’s immuno-haematological status. Whether a bone marrow test was indicated during this period of hospitalisation is considered debatable in the report.

The report further discloses that Kumaramangalam was occasionally taking wysolone steroid (10 mg) and this is stated in the case sheet of AIIMS. This fact had not been mentioned to the treating physicians in the hospital.” This may have had the effect of masking/altering the clinical symptomology and may have diverted the attending physician from pursuing a different course of investigation/treatment.”

On the basis of facts and circumstances mentioned in the report, the Ministry has concluded that had the treatment after discharge from the hospital been followed up with the same treating physician, perhaps a persistenty low blood count may have prompted further tests, including bone marrow examination.

It is also noted that the late minister was suffering from occasional fever since October-November, ‘99. The fever occurred and became persistent in April, 2000, after his return from a tour from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. On the advice of two private doctors, Kumaramangalam got himself admitted to Apollo Hospital on April 14. He was emperically prescribed a course of medicines for malaria as he had recently returned from a malaria-endemic area even though his blood sample did not show malarial parasites. It was noted that such a practice is not unusual in India.

Between the date of his discharge from Apollo on April 23 and his admission to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences on August 14, Kumaramangalam returned for follow-up only once on May 8. On this day, he did not meet the treating physician but had his chest X-ray and blood sample taken from the office of the Chairman of the hospital. In this period, he took some anti-tuberculosis treatment, but the records of this medication are not available.

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