NEW DELHI: Kin and family members of four patients who were “victims” of malpractices of some of the biggest private hospitals in the country, on Saturday, came together to launch a patients’ rights forum--Campaign for Dignified and Affordable Healthcare.
The movement is looking to work towards strengthening regulation of the private healthcare sector and for reforms to ensure ethical, respectful treatment of patients.
“We have come together because of inadequate response and apathy of the governmental mechanisms for investigating and delivering justice to families that have suffered while accessing healthcare in private hospitals,” said Jayant Singh, whose 7-year- old daughter Adya Singh had died in Fortis hospital, Gurugram of dengue.
Singh had coughed up Rs 17 lakh for her treatment in the hospital.
The government enquiry, following relentless complaints by Singh, had later found the hospital guilty of overcharging and lacking in following several medical protocols.
Gopendra Singh Parmar from Rajasthan who lost his son Shourya Pratap in Medanta- the Medicity, Gurugram in the course of treatment for dengue said he had lost faith in the government and wanted people to come forward to demand affordable, quality healthcare.
Parmar, a poor farmer was refunded Rs 16 lakh he had incurred towards the cost of his son’s treatment by the hospital after he agreed to withdraw an FIR of overcharging and medical negligence.
Pankaj Arora who had lost his son in the same hospital in 2011 following gross negligence and violations of protocols during a liver transplant and related complications said he had been knocking on every door possible to get justice for his son.
"The failure and utter breakdown of institutional mechanisms meant to protect and support patients, particularly committees for investigating complaints, results in great hardship for families trying to engage a system that is rigged against them," a letter by the group to India’s health and family welfare minister J P Nadda said.
The group, that is being supported by healthcare experts and civil society members said that there is deep fragmentation of remedies across a maze of institutions like consumer court, MCI, police.
“However, the system of accountability relies overwhelmingly on the judgment of healthcare workers and doctors who are understandably reluctant to hold their often powerful peers accountable”.
The families have demanded that the government should institute clear procedures and norms for investigating patient complaints that include laying out transparently the method and manner in which the investigation will be conducted.
The group has also asked ask for a review of the processes and outcomes to date in the complaints of medical negligence and intervention to rectify the gross injustices done.