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Private hospitals should strictly abide by govt guidelines for admitting poor patients, says Bombay HC

The court made the observations on September 21 regarding an incident that took place on June 9, when a pregnant woman approached a private hospital in Nanded for giving birth but was turned away as her case papers had been drawn at the government hospital.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai | Updated: October 3, 2020 10:55:40 am
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Observing that “extraordinary time requires extraordinary measures”, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has directed the state government to provide proper healthcare facilities and ensure their upgradation for both Covid and non-Covid patients at government and private hospitals as per guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act.

The court made the observations on September 21 regarding an incident that took place on June 9, when a pregnant woman approached a private hospital in Nanded for giving birth but was turned away as her case papers had been drawn at the government hospital. The woman was forced to return to the government hospital where she later gave birth.

Taking note of the incident reported in the media, a division bench of Justice S V Gangapurwala and Justice Shrikant D Kulkarni initiated a suo motu PIL to ensure that hospitals do not turn away patients regardless of where they were originally admitted.

The bench said that though the private hospital was not in fault in the incident, there had been many grievances about hospitals run by private trusts refusing to admit non-Covid patients. The court added that in clear violation of government guidelines, private hospitals were not even admitting patients for the 80 per cent of their beds that had been taken over by the government under the Disaster Management Act.

The court went on to ask the state government to ensure that the private hospitals strictly adhere to its guidelines. It also asked the state to ensure proper facilities and upgraded infrastructure were available in both government and private hospitals so that patients belonging to middle or marginalised classes are not deprived of treatment.

“Extraordinary time requires extraordinary measures. We do appreciate that the fraternity of doctors and those concerned in aiding the treatment have risen to the occasion and are performing their duties and discharging the responsibilities to the best of their ability. The state certainly is required to provide all the infrastructure and facilities for the treatment,” the court said.

Disposing of the plea, it added, “We hope and trust that the state and its authorities shall ensure the strict implementation of the guidelines issued from time to time. The state government is duty bound to implement the said guidelines in its true letter and spirit and shall not leave any stone unturned to implement the same.”

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