Elderly Patient allegedly tied to bed over non payment of bills: HC serves notice to Health Minister, state
Madhya Pradesh: The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently took cognizance of a shocking incident where an elderly patient was allegedly tied to the bed over nonpayment of his treatment fee at a hospital. The matter came to HC after a reference was made by the Chief Justice of India based on the letter written by Former Law Minister and Senior Advocate, Dr. Ashwani Kumar regarding it.
Both of the parties involved in the incident presented their sides in front of the bench of justices and the court has registered the next hearing on 6th July 2020.
Previously, Medical Dialogues Team reported that a video of the incident had gone viral on social media showing an 80-year-old patient allegedly tied to the hospital bed by the staff. The administration of Madhya Pradesh's Shajapur district suspended the registration of a private hospital and an FIR was also lodged.
After that Dr. Ashwani Kumar wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India stating that such acts amount to a violation of fundamental right i.e. right to live with dignity. While treating the letter as a PIL, it was forwarded to the state High Court with a request to look into the matter and take appropriate steps.
Notice has been issued towards Office is directed to implead (1) Union of India, through Secretary, Ministry of Health, New Delhi; (2) State of Madhya Pradesh, through Principal Secretary, Department of Health, Vallabh Bhawan, Bhopal; (3) Collector, Shajapur, District Shajapur; and (4) Chief Medical Officer, District Hospital, Shajapur as respondents in the case by the HC
Learned counsel for State submitted that action has been initiated against the concerned Hospital and F.I.R. has already been lodged. It is submitted that the person who was detained, after waiving the bills, has also been freed, the court noted.
According to Dr. Kumar's letter, the patient's family claimed that during the treatment, the family had paid Rs 6,000, followed by another Rs 5,000. However, at the time of discharge, the hospital asked the kin to pay Rs 11,270 more. The patient's family did not have the required amount, and because of the COVID-19 lockdown, they could not even make any other arrangements, and afterward, he was tied to the bed by the authorities.
Dr. Varun Bajaj, the director of the private hospital denied all the allegations and confirmed that the patient was discharged and no extra amount was charged. He had informed, "The patient was having intestinal problems and in order to administer the medicine, his legs were tied to the bed while his hands were held by his family during the process." He also affirmed that police were informed after those attending the patient expressed an inability to pay the bill and insisted on taking him home.