|The Delhi High Court
has issued notices to the Health Secretaries, by Hon’ble Mr. Justice
HC talks tough on healthcare
Says it’s high time authorities check exploitation and negligence
New Delhi, September 5, 2005. LiveIndia.Com
The Delhi High Court has issued notices to the Health Secretaries of the Centre and the Delhi Government, the Director General of Health Services, the Director of Health Services here and all Medical Superintendents of government hospitals in the Capital, seeking their response on how to improve the conditions of health services.
A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice B. A. Khan and Mr Justice Madan B. Lokur asked the respondent officials to file their replies on this issue of public importance within a week. Failure to do this would translate into their having to personally appear in the court on September 22, the next date of hearing.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by the Delhi Medical Association (DMA) against a Single-Bench order directing the Delhi Health Secretary to issue a press release in three English dailies and an equal number of Hindi newspapers here inviting grievances from the general public about the problems faced by them in government hospitals and private nursing homes.
Converting the appeal into a PIL, the Bench said there was no dearth of reports about the problems being faced by patients.
When petitioners’ counsel Vipin Sanghi submitted that private nursing homes had unnecessarily been dragged into it, the Bench retorted: “Are there not reports that you are making money out of dead bodies and selling kidneys?”
Reminding the association that it was its foremost duty to check such things, the Bench asked why the DMA should have any grievance if an attempt was being made to improve the system.
While hearing a petition by two young children whose mother died in July last year, allegedly due to negligence on the part of doctors at Gauri Nursing Home, Malkaganj Road, in north Delhi, Mr Justice R. C. Chopra had also issued notices to the Health Secretaries of the Centre and the Delhi Government.
The Bench, however, made it clear the Single Bench would continue to hear the petition sans public interest.
“The patients/citizens appear to be caught between the devil and the deep sea. If they go to a government hospital, there is indifference, neglect and inadequacy of infrastructure and in case they rush to private hospitals, there is exploitation and fleecing over which, there appears to be no control.
“It is high time that the authorities concerned wake up to this alarming situation and take steps so that the patients suffering from life-threatening and serious ailments are saved and are not left helpless in government hospitals as well as private nursing homes,” Mr Justice Chopra had said.
The Division Bench refused to stay the Single-Bench order that complaints received against government hospitals and private nursing homes be segregated and remedial measures be taken to protect the citizens’ life and health after getting the government’s response.
“It has to be kept in mind that the patients facing serious health problems cannot be left to their fate. The State has to intervene,” Mr Justice Chopra observed.
Mr Justice Chopra had refused to accept the report of a board of doctors (constituted on the request of the police) which said that prima facie there was no negligence on the part of Gauri Nursing Home in the death of the petitioner’s mother.
The court directed the papers
be sent to the AIIMS Medical Superintendent who would constitute another
board of doctors and submit a report within six weeks about the circumstances
under which the deceased, Seema, was operated upon and handled by the doctors
at Gauri Nursing Home.
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