BENGALURU: The family members of a deceased cancer patient were left shuttling between the hospital and police station after the hospital refused to hand over the body to the family on the grounds that it is a medico-legal case (MLC).
It was a wait of over 36 hours for the family of Sabeera, a patient from Kampli in Ballari district, to claim her body from Gleneagles Global Hospitals in the city. Even as hospital authorities sought that a police complaint be filed, the family said it was death due to terminal illness.
The woman died early on Saturday, but her body was finally handed over to the family on Sunday evening.
The family complained that the hospital had, “for reasons best known to them” claimed it was an MLC and did not release the body. They complained that even as the patient awaited treatment at the hospital premises for five days, doctors claimed that she was “brought dead.”
She was rushed to the hospital on June 29 following a relapse of breast cancer. As she was a beneficiary under the Vajpayee Arogyashree Scheme, the hospital asked her to wait for the authorisation.
On July 5, the hospital obtained the authorisation for her treatment from the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust, a government agency that facilitates treatment of beneficiaries under state schemes. “The patient was in the waiting hall as clearance was awaited. Even after the authorisation was completed, the patient was not allocated a ward,” said Akhila Vasan, an activist who was with the family.
Akhila said that Sabeera was under palliative care and died due to terminal illness and said the hospital had not reasoned as to why it was an MLC. “When the family contacted Kengeri police, they claimed it was not an MLC and did not fall under their jurisdiction. The family was asked to contact Kampli police, but they refused to come to the spot,” said Akhila.
She said the patient died early on Saturday. “She had complained of breathing difficulty. Her daughter called the doctor who said that they would have to wait. In a while, when the patient felt better, her daughter gave her tea and food. She died a while later,” said Akhila.
The hospital has claimed that the patient was only visiting them as an out-patient and that she was not admitted. “The patient was brought dead to the emergency room on Saturday and since the cause of death was unknown, we had intimated this to the police. The police formalities were going on. The patient was from another district and the case was handed over to that district.
Formalities related to death were completed from our end and the body was handed over to the family,” the hospital statement read. The Kengeri police, however, said it was not a medico-legal case and it did not come under their jurisdiction.