Health ministry kept in the dark on move to Singapore

The decision to shift the 23-year-old Delhi gangrape victim to a Singapore hospital on Wednesday night was kept a closely guarded secret, with even top officials of the health ministry being kept out of the loop. In fact, unaware that the move had been initiated from the top echelons of the government, some health ministry officials even pulled up Safdarjung Hospital doctors and warned against the move.

Although the hospital authorities were reportedly given the go-ahead to shift the victim on Tuesday evening itself, most of the health ministry officials only got to know about the move from media reports. The decision to exclude the ministry from the elaborate planning and rope in Dr Naresh Trehan from Medanta seems to have been a deliberate attempt to keep the operation under wraps.

On Wednesday evening, when Minister of State for Health A H Khan Chowdhury spoke to Safdarjung Hospital medical superintendent Dr B D Athani, he was not informed about the decision. "I inquired about the victim and Dr Athani told me that though she had been doing well, she took a turn for the worse during the night. We had a brief conversation but he did not let out anything about her being moved to Singapore. It was about two hours later that I came to know about the plan from other sources," the MoS told The Indian Express.

Similarly, Director General Health Services (DGHS) Dr Jagdish Prasad, a former medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital, was told about the Singapore plan only when he reached the hospital in the evening. While he was not happy about the decision, the preparations were almost over by then.

Sources said Health Secretary P K Pradhan was also unaware about the decision till he left for a meeting in the Prime Minister's Office in the evening.

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