Mumbai: As 67-year-old doctor battles coronavirus, son files PIL questioning admission process of private hospitals
Mumbai: The matter pertaining to the inadequate admission processes and medical facilities in public and private hospitals treating COVID 19 patients in the state of Maharashtra has reached the doors of the Bombay High Court.
The PIL seeking the HC's intervention into the said issues has been filed by a professional advocate, who is the son of a doctor undergoing coronavirus treatment after contracting the infection while offering his services during this critical epidemic.
Through his plea, the petitioner son has shared his family's "nightmarish experience" in getting his father treated. The 67-year-old doctor was reportedly deployed the Chief Medical Officer of COVID 19 hospitals in Malegaon after he decided to enrol himself as a COVID Yoddha amidst an acute rise in coronavirus cases in Nashik. He worked for nearly a month before testing positive himself on April 24.
The doctor's son stated in his PIL that his father who was on frontline duty amid coronavirus outbreak; was turned away by private health facilities after he contracted the infection and needed immediate treatment.
About his father's eagerness to join the COVID fight even after 40 years of medical practice, the lawyer said that for the doctor, duty towards his profession and society took precedence over everything else, including his family. It was the call of duty that made the doctor move to Malegaon from his home in Pune.
He pointed towards the horrific state of private hospitals by saying that unhygienic rooms, beds without sheets or pillows, erratic meal timings (for example 11 pm dinner even for a diabetic), a lack of life-saving equipment and poor facilities for patients' families in quarantine were some of the issues the family faced in the private Jeevan Hospital currently being operated by the Malegaon Municipal Corporation as a Covid-19 facility.
"The absence of basic amenities led to an emotional breakdown," the lawyer wrote about his father's condition, as quoted by the Mirror.
Sharing their ordeal, the family claims that they had called up almost every single private hospital before managing to shift the doctor to Apollo Hospital in Nashik, on May 2.
The petition moved to highlight another concern as per which there was no clarity about which hospital was COVID and which wasn't.
It was stated that when the family was seeking admission of the doctor in a health centre, all the concerned authorities there said that the beds were full and when they finally got to Apollo, they paid exorbitant prices for treatment including several other issues.
At the Apollo Hospital, where they finally landed, they were asked to provide a government letter for admission. The family is currently paying Rs 50,000 a day for the ICU bed and had paid Rs 1 lakh for the few days his father was on a ventilator, the petitioner stated in the PIL.
He said that it took the chief minister's intervention for his father to be discharged from Jeevan Hospital, despite the hospital lacking facilities to handle his complicated medical condition. The petitioner had applied for an e-pass to get his father admitted 20 days ago but has still not received permission after an initial rejection.
Pointing out the aforesaid dilemma that his family had to face for getting the doctor treated, the petitioner has asked for the court's intervention in resolving all these issues.
In his plea, the petitioner has prayed for a dedicated website to display availability of bed twice a day for public and private hospitals across the state along with the daily charges, as is the case in Delhi, Rajasthan and Punjab. The website should specify the type of hospital - COVID or non-COVID.
He maintained that even though the Maharashtra government has come up with a free COVID treatment policy, there is no cap on the charges. In fact, there is no clarity at all as far as the hospital fees or charges are concerned, he stated.
Hence, he has called for free and timely medical assistance to frontline workers or a mediclaim facility as is done in Kerala.
Since the petitioner sought the HC's intervention in all public and private hospitals, the court has directed the state as well as the BMC to respond to the PIL, reports Mirror.
State's Health Minister Rajesh Tope had visited Malegaon last month and issued notices to five private hospitals that were not functioning during this crucial time. He also visited the Jeevan Hospital, the daily added.Read Also: Andhra Pradesh to invest in rural healthcare; Rs 16,200 crore allocated to set up 10,000 clinics