Act against hospitals that detain patients over medical bills: HC tells Maha govt
Mumbai: Citing the miserable conditions of patients in Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court today asked the state government to come up with a mechanism that would enable it to take action against hospitals that detain patients and hold up bodies for non-payment of medical bills. The court has given a deadline of one month to implement its order.
"Whenever a case of illegal detention comes up, the criminal law is set into motion. Therefore a mechanism needs to be set up which would enable the state to take action on the basis of complaints filed by patients and their family members," a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka said yesterday while hearing a PIL.
The bench, which was hearing a plea dealing with detention of patients due to non-payment of bills, also asked the government to have a dialogue with hospitals and medical consultants to find out ways to avoid such issues.
The PIL said that there were many instances of patients being detained due to non-payment of bills. The petition also noted that even bodies were not handed over to the families due to bills not being cleared.
Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) Madhav Thorat argued that there should be a regulation to deal with this issue without which the high court cannot issue a writ of mandamus or direction in this matter.
Rui Rodrigues, who appeared for an organisation of more than 8,000 medical consultants, argued that this body was not in favour of detaining patients for non-payment of medical bills. However, a balance needs to be struck and a mechanism is required to be set up which would not put the doctors at the receiving end.
The HC asked the government to hold a dialogue with organisations of medical consultants and super-speciality hospitals on the issue.
(With PTI inputs)