Sahil Arondekar with his mother

Bhabha Hospital, one of the biggest BMC-run hospitals, on Sunday night turned away a 17-year-old with Down Syndrome who turned up with fever and a respiratory problem, claiming that it had no expertise in treating patients with the genetic disorder.

Around 8 pm on Sunday, Sahil Vijay Arondekar, whose physical development is that of a two-year-old, suddenly developed a respiratory problem and a fever. His mother, Vinaya Vijay Arondekar, rushed him to VN Desai Hospital in Santacruz, but it referred her to Bhabha Hospital in Bandra West. The hospital refused to admit him, saying it neither had a paediatrician on call nor did it have the expertise to treat a person with special needs. "The hospital authorities said since he is a child with special needs, they didn't know what treatment to administer," Vinaya told mid-day. "They said they didn't want to take a risk. They asked me to take him to KEM Hospital or Wadia Hospital."

Vinaya claimed that when she asked the authorities to at least have a paediatrician take a look at him, they said they didn't have one on duty at the time. "They said considering the seriousness of his condition, I shouldn't wait around."

The hospital authorities administered some injections to Sahil for temporary relief and provided a referral letter that read, 'Referred to high centre for further management'.

Sahil was finally admitted to KEM Hospital around midnight and administered proper treatment.

Down syndrome occurs when a person has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. The additional genetic material alters the course of development. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone and small stature.