SC seeks Centre’s explanation on guidelines set by private hospitals

New Delhi: Are there any guidelines for private hospitals to make attendants aware of the treatment being provided to the patients admitted in ICUs or CCUs?
The Supreme Court has asked this question to the Centre, states and Medical Council of India (MCI) following a petition by a man who lost his daughter-in-law due to alleged negligence on the part of doctors treating her at a private
hospital in West Bengal.

Relatives or friends of patients, who spend hours outside the Intensive Care and Critical Care Units of private hospitals, many a times do not have any idea as to what treatment was being administered to their loved ones.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit took note of the plea that the kin of critically-ill patients in private hospitals usually remained clueless about the
treatment and care being administered.

The bench issued notice to the Centre, MCI and state governments and sought their responses within six weeks, saying those who suffer due to negligence on part of the doctor or hospital administration, can move consumer forums for compensation if information about the treatment is available with them.

The court’s order came on the plea of one Asit Baran Mandal, a resident of West Bengal, who alleged negligence on part of a doctor in treating his daughter-in-law. Mandal lost his daughter-in-law on account of alleged medical negligence in post-operation care.

The plea alleged that the treating physician did not ask for a Liver Function Tests (LFT) soon after Mandal’s daughter -in-law was operated upon for her pregnancy.

She died three days after the operation as her bilirubin levels touched alarming levels, it said adding that the death could have been avoided had the levels been checked on the first day itself.

“Medical negligence is writ large in a number of private hospitals and there is no check on it,” the petition filed by Mandal stated, adding that no proper care is given post-operation which is crucial to a patient’s recovery.