Friday, March 21, 2014

Right to medical aid is State's responsibility - HC directs Govt. to cut down bureaucratic chain & fund the treatment of children with genetic disorder

Court comes to the aid of two dying patients

Akanksha Jain, New Delhi, March 21, 2014

“We need to cut down the bureaucratic chain so that the money reaches needy patients,” the High Court told the Delhi Government on Thursday.

A Bench of Justice Manmohan made this remark while dealing with pleas of two poor patients who suffer from genetic disorders and have sought medical aid from the State.

One of them is 36-year-old Amit Ahuja, a bed-ridden haemophiliac, who lost his left leg and continues to bleed in a ward at the Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP) with multiple bedsores and a pseudo tumour in the right leg.

Criticizing the government and its hospitals for not creating dedicated bank accounts where the public can donate money for the treatment of poor patients, the Bench asked: “Has anyone heard of any account of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences [AIIMS] or LNJP for anyone to deposit money by way of charity? Why is it not in place? Why is LNJP shy of accepting public money for poor patients?”

When told by the Health Secretary that the Government has one such account, the Bench said: “We need to cut down the bureaucratic chain so that money reaches the needy. The account should be subject to audit. The head of any government hospital should not need to request the State for treating the poor.”

Hearing the plea of Mr. Ahuja, the court said: “No person can bleed to death.”

Meanwhile, the Bench transferred Rs.7.75 lakh collected by High Court lawyers into a bank account of AIIMS for immediate treatment of Mohammad Ahmed, the son of rickshawpuller Mohammad Sirajuddin who broke down outside court while talking to The Hindu .

“Even the Prime Minister’s Office did not come to aid when I lost three children to the same disorder,” he said.

“I am faced with grave crisis today. One person is bleeding, his wounds are not healing. The other patient needs enzyme therapy. His three siblings have died of the same disorder. I have to look for a legal answer to this. Every person has a right to medical aid,” Justice Manmohan said.

During the hearing, counsel for Mr. Ahuja advocate Gurmit Singh Hans told the Bench that he is being treated for the disorder since he was nine-months-old, but now when all his family assets stand exhausted the hospital has denied him treatment, which is worsening his condition.

The LNJP Hospital Department Head told the Bench that the only drug available for haemophilia costs more than Rs.50 lakh and is to be given daily to the patient.

“When medical science has made some advances, we have to give it to the common man. Otherwise what is the idea of having such lofty ideas in the Constitution? It cannot be only for the high and mighty,” the Bench said.

“We need to cut down bureaucratic chain so the money reaches needy patients”

Source: The Hindu

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