KATHMANDU, Nepal — A Nepal hospital said Friday that CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta incorrectly reported that he operated on an 8-year-old girl after the country's devastating earthquake in April.
A top official at the Bir Hospital in Kathmandu, Dr. Ganesh Bahadur Gurung, said Friday that the girl, Salina Dahal, never had brain surgery and has recovered from minor head injuries.
Gupta, a practicing brain surgeon, reported days after the April 25 earthquake that he operated on Dahal. CNN said Thursday that it is working to verify the identity of Gupta's patient, following a published report that he never treated the 8-year-old girl.
Gurung said Gupta did observe the surgery of another 14-year-old girl but it was unclear whether he actually assisted Nepali doctors because of the chaotic situation at the time.
"There was no operation performed on the child whose name was mentioned in the (CNN) news report. Actually the operation done that day was a 14-year-old whose name he has not mentioned. He has given a false statement there," Gurung said, adding Gupta was at the hospital as a journalist and not a medical professional.
The Global Press Journal first reported this week that according to the girl's family and doctors, Dahal was never operated on. Instead, it reported Gupta operated on a 14-year-old girl, Sandhya Chalise.
Gurung said Gupta was allowed inside the hospital by a Nepali surgeon because Gupta said he wanted to observe and was also a surgeon himself.
Dahal and her family said she was in the hospital for eight days with minor injuries and a broken wrist but did not have any surgery.
"I was hurt but I did not have any surgery," Dahal told The Associated Press at her home in Dahal village, about 48 kilometers (30 miles) east of Kathmandu.
Dahal showed minor scars on her head that were mostly covered by her hair. Her grandfather — 61-year-old Ram Bahadur — said her wounds needed only stitches.
Dahal had been injured by falling debris on April 25. She was taken to two different hospitals before ending up at Bir hospital. She said she was visited by many doctors, including foreign ones, but was not sure if one was Gupta.
Dahal's family does not own a television.
Gupta, speaking on CNN Wednesday, said the hospital's triage unit was a chaotic situation that was "unlike anything I've ever seen." He said he had relied upon the hospital to identify his patient and CNN acknowledged that the hospital may have provided him with incorrect information.
CNN spokeswoman Neel Khairzada said apparently different people at the hospital had given conflicting information to two CNN representatives. CNN is now working to make sure it has the correct information about the patient and will correct the record if Gupta's report is proven wrong, she said.