Bom­bay high court: ‘In­hu­man’ to de­tain pa­tients un­til pay­ment of med­i­cal bills

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A divi­sion bench of Jus­tice VM Kanade and Jus­tice PD Kode heard a pe­ti­tion filed by San­jay Pra­jap­ati (25) urg­ing it to di­rect MIDC Po­lice, And­heri (East), to act against doc­tors and staff of Seven­Hills Hos­pi­tal for wrong­fully con­fin­ing his brother over a dis­puted bill. He urged the court to di­rect the po­lice to get the pa­tient dis­charged and ad­mit­ted to a suit­able hos­pi­tal for fur­ther treat­ment.

The pe­ti­tioner said his brother Chinku suf­fered head in­juries af­ter a fall at home on 29 March 2014 and was ad­mit­ted to Seven­Hills Hos­pi­tal, where he was op­er­ated upon. Pra­jap­ati later wrote to the CEO al­leg­ing im­proper treat­ment and bo­gus billings, but re­ceived no re­sponse. Find­ing no im­prove­ment in his brother's con­di­tion, he de­cided to shift him else­where but the hos­pi­tal re­fused to dis­charge him till the dis­puted bills were cleared.

Diwakar Dwivedi, Pra­jap­ati’s ad­vo­cate, told the HC that out of a to­tal bill of Rs 4.56 lakh, Rs 2.76 lakh was de­posited and ac­cord­ing to the hos­pi­tal a bal­ance of Rs 1.80 lakh was payable. “I have dis­puted it. I now want to shift my brother but they are re­fus­ing to dis­charge him un­less the bills are paid. They can­not de­tain a pa­tient in this man­ner,” the pe­ti­tioner said.

“It is a prac­tice at all hos­pi­tals to de­tain pa­tients as long as money is not paid. It is in­hu­man. It is hap­pen­ing even in govern­ment hos­pi­tals. It is sur­pris­ing,” said Jus­tice Kanade.

Delhi govern­ment or­ders clo­sure of pri­vate hos­pi­tal

The di­rec­torate of health ser­vices, Delhi govern­ment, or­dered the clo­sure of Satyam Hos­pi­tal, a pri­vate hos­pi­tal in west Delhi, fol­low­ing the death of a pa­tient who was ini­tially treated there ‘by an un­qual­i­fied person’. The clo­sure order was for al­legedly vi­o­lat­ing the pro­vi­sions un­der Delhi Nurs­ing Home Regis­tra­tion (Amend­ment) Rules, 2011, lead­ing to fa­tal con­se­quences for the pa­tient be­ing treated therein, a Delhi govern­ment state­ment said.

Direc­tor of Health Ser­vices Dr NV Ka­mat in­formed that the regis­tra­tion of the hos­pi­tal stood can­celled with im­me­di­ate ef­fect based on the re­port sub­mit­ted by Delhi Med­i­cal Coun­cil. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, "it was ev­i­dent that a pa­tient named Kamini Solanki ul­ti­mately died due to the ini­tial treat­ment pro­vided in the hos­pi­tal by an un­qual­i­fied person work­ing in the dis­guise of doc­tor."

Kamini Solanki, 34, was two months preg­nant and ad­mit­ted in the Satyam Hos­pi­tal on 13 May 2012. She was died on the same evening on way to another hos­pi­tal in the lo­cal­ity. The de­ceased’s hus­band Dhi­raj Solanki in his com­plaint high­lighted the death of his wife due to neg­li­gence.

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