HYDERABAD: Taking a serious view of Sunshine Hospital in Secunderabad refusing to handover the body of an ex-serviceman to his family for non-payment of medical bills, Justice T Vinod Kumar of Telangana High Court on Monday directed the Central government and Director of Medical and Health Services to enquire into the issue and take stringent action against the hospital if it is found that the bills raised were in excess and were in the nature of exploiting innocent people.
The judge also directed the Station House Officer (SHO) of Ramgopalpet police station to take immediate steps for release of the body of ex-serviceman Ram Kumar Sharma, who died of COVID-19 here on Sunday. Later in the day, the body was handed over to family members as per the court direction.
Justice Vinod Kumar passed the order through video-conferencing in the petition filed in the form of a house motion, on account of a court holiday for the Raksha Bandhan festival, by the deceased patient's son Naveen Kumar Sharma seeking direction to the hospital authorities to immediately hand over his father’s body to perform the last rites.
Senior advocate Srikishan Sharma, appearing for the petitioner, contended that the action of the said private hospital to retain the body of the petitioner's father was violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India and also contrary to various provisions of the Clinical Establishment Act, 2010 and contrary to Medical Council Regulations framed by the Medical Council of India.
At the time of admission of the retired captain on July 24, Rs 2 lakh was deposited twice as per direction of the hospital. Though the victim was protected by the Central government medical scheme, hospital authorities refused to accept the same.
Neither the line of treatment nor the approximate amount which would be charged was disclosed and no treatment charges were displayed in the hospital. The victim died on August 2 evening due to complications.
When the petitioner wanted to take the body, the hospital refused to hand it over unless further sum of Rs 4.68 lakh was deposited, he said and termed the action of the hospital in raising an exorbitant bill for Rs 8.68 lakh as a clear case of cheating, unethical trade practice and is against the charges of Rs 9,000 per day fixed by the State government.
After hearing the case, the judge suo moto impleaded the Centre as one of the respondent to the case and directed the Director of Medical and Health Services to investigate the issue, and posted the matter to September 11.