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.
“Till quite late on Wednesday evening the update from Safdarjung had been very negative, and we left office with a sense of foreboding. However, at around 9 pm, I started getting calls that she would be shifted abroad. It is possible that the girl's worsening condition forced the government's hand but the secrecy is baffling,” said a senior official.
Though Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was among the first to suggest the idea of treatment abroad, her office too was not informed till late evening.