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Hospitals cannot hold patients hostage for unpaid bills: Delhi HC to Gangaram Hospital

Hospitals cannot hold patients hostage for unpaid bills: Delhi HC to Gangaram Hospital

NEW DELHI: Hospitals cannot hold patients “hostage” to extract money for unpaid bills, the Delhi High Court told a premier private city hospital for allegedly withholding custody of a patient over outstanding dues.

Denouncing this “modus operandi” of withholding custody of patients, a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Deepa Sharma said if the bills are not paid, then release the patient.

“If bills not paid, then release the patient. You cannot keep patients hostage. That cannot be the modus operandi.

“Even if dues are outstanding, custody of patients cannot be withheld to extract money towards unpaid bills (of the hospital). We deprecate this practice,” the court told Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in central Delhi.

The court directed the hospital to prepare the discharge summary of the patient and allowed his son, the petitioner, to remove his father forthwith from the hospital.

Senior Standing Counsel of Delhi government Rahul Mehra said that several hospitals do behave in this manner.

The ruling came in a habeas corpus plea moved by the son of the patient, a former Madhya Pradesh policeman who was admitted in the hospital for treatment in February.

The ex-cop was suffering from enterocutaneous fistula, which occurs in the intestinal tract due to which contents of the stomach or intestines leak through to the skin. The treatment includes surgery.

The patient’s son had alleged that the hospital was holding his father hostage to extract money from him towards outstanding dues of Rs 13.45 lakh, an amount that he has disputed.

He had also alleged that the hospital was not giving proper treatment to his father and when he sought to take him away, it did not allow him to do so.

The hospital opposed the petitioner’s contentions and claimed that he had raised the grievance as the patient was shifted to the general ward from private ward due to non- payment of dues. It said the total bill was of Rs 16.75 lakh and the petitioner had only paid Rs 3.3 lakh.

Despite the outstanding dues, a surgery was carried out on the patient on April 21 after being shifted to the general ward, the hospital said.

The petitioner said the surgery was carried out after he had lodged a police complaint on April 20.

Source: PTI
15 comment(s) on Hospitals cannot hold patients hostage for unpaid bills: Delhi HC to Gangaram Hospital

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  1. Sad as money is a commonest commodity and private hospitals don\’t even get industry status and facilioties. Yet they expect the hefty bills go unpaid. It will cause more hardships and further damage d doc-patient relations. Wish d Court had been a bit circumspect. Govt hospitals sud take d onus 4 free t/t.

  2. user
    Dr P R B Prasad April 29, 2017, 5:02 pm

    It is really sad to have such judgement. The Hon\’ble Court must have come with a direction as to how to compensate with this loss. Will this not encourage the public not to pay after treament? Will not this lead to bankrupty of treating hospitals & clinics? Will not this lead to deterioration in the upkeeping and proper maintenance of hospital ? Will not this lead to drown the private hospitals in debt? Will not this have a discouraging effect on start up of new Hospitals?
    we all are aware that almost all State run Hospitals are in bad shape in spite of various measures and directives of Hon\’ble Courts. The private Hospitals started after coniderable investments and loans from Banks and other lending agencies , are defnitely of great help for ailing peoples but of course at a price.
    Will the Hon\’ble Court direct that bills of such patients and loss on establishment expences on this account shall hence forth be met by the funds available in Hon\’ble Court?
    The Hon\’ble Court must come with practical,concrete and feasible idea and order so that the same can be implemented , otherwise the same is bound to be dishonoured.
    Dr P R B Prasad

  3. I Am Dr Nagireddy THANA President Telangana.we should discuss with both the parties then only Passible to comment

  4. Lawyer\’s fee and court fee must be paid after judgement also.

  5. Lawyers fee to be paid after outcome of judgement similarly court fees to be paid at the will of clients