HC notice to hospital for calling HIV+ patient a biohazard

Calling it “absolutely illegal,inhuman and insensitive,” the Delhi High Court has slammed the government-run GTB Hospital for putting up a “Seropositive-BioHazard” placard against the bed of a HIV positive patient during the three days she was admitted to the hospital.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published:February 10, 2012 3:18 am

Calling it “absolutely illegal,inhuman and insensitive,” the Delhi High Court has slammed the government-run GTB Hospital for putting up a “Seropositive-BioHazard” placard against the bed of a HIV positive patient during the three days she was admitted to the hospital.

This incident was first reported by Newsline last December.

After perusing a petition that annexed some pictures of a chart resembling a placard,Justice Vipin Sanghi criticised hospital authorities for meting out such treatment to an HIV positive patient.

“Prima facie,this conduct of the hospital and its medical superintendent is wholly illegal and demonstrates lack of sensitivity,” the court said,issuing notice to them,besides seeking response from the Central government on the issue.

Admitting the petition moved through advocate Ambalika Roy,Justice Sanghi said the hospital’s acts not only breached the privacy and confidentiality of the patient but also trampled her fundamental right to live with dignity. The court observed that if the petitioner’s allegations were found to be right,the hospital will have to face action for committing such an “insensitive” act.

“It (actions of the hospital) appears to violate the fundamental right under Article 21 (Right to life and liberty) of the Constitution of India,which ensures the right to life with dignity to every citizen. It also breaches the privacy and confidentiality of the petitioner,which was required to be maintained in relation to her medical condition,” Justice Sanghi observed.

The court has directed all parties to file counter-affidavits in the case within four weeks and explain their stand. The incident happened last year when the patient,who is registered at the hospital’s antiretroviral therapy centre,reported to the emergency,complaining of back and abdominal pain. She was later admitted to the surgery ward.

According to the petition,the patient was subjected to humiliation by doctors after she disclosed her HIV status in the emergency.

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