On the occasion of Human Rights Day (December 10), several serious cases of patients’ rights violations in various public and private hospitals in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan have been submitted to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). These cases have been submitted for the western region public hearing on Right to Healthcare, which is being organised on January 6 and 7 at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, by NHRC and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA).
Dr Anant Phadke, a JSA coordinator, said that so far 77 cases of serious denial of healthcare and violation of patients’ rights have been collated for the hearing, out of which 33 are from Maharashtra. Out of these, 17 cases pertain to the public healthcare system and 16 to the private medical sector. The cases from the public healthcare system largely point to lack of availability of essential services, which is due to shortage of staff and infrastructure.
The JSA team presented some shocking cases from Pune including how an allegedly negligent treatment of a critically ill patient in the ICU of a big public hospital in Pimpri-Chinchwad led to the death of a young patient.
According to Dr Abhijit More, another JSA coordinator, a patient named Mr. Deshpande (name not mentioned to protect identity) was admitted to a well-known tertiary care public hospital in Pimpri-Chinchwad with swine flu pneumonia in February 2015.
Though he was seriously ill from the day of admission, he was not examined by the ICU on-duty doctor every few hours. Like in other non-ICU wards, he was examined only twice or thrice in 24 hours and that too by different doctors and no one seemed to be in charge overall.
No doctor would examine the patient for 8-10 hours at night as the system was especially lax at night, despite the patient’s critical condition. Owing to the overall negligent treatment received at this hospital, Mr. Deshpande died three days after being admitted there.
The JSA team also cited another shocking case where a ‘package deal’ was offered to three daughters-in-law from the same family who were subjected to irrational hysterectomy on the same day at the same private clinic in Baramati.
All the three had complaints of dysmenorrhoea-painful menstruation which is not necessarily an indication for hysterectomy. Dysmenorrhoea can often be treated with hormonal therapy. However, hysterectomies were done in all three cases, the JSA team pointed out. Apart from public hospitals, cases from the private medical sector have also been collated and would be presented at the meet, Phade added.