HC orders probe into claims of hospitals turning away patients

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-07-07 00:36:53 BdST


The High Court has ordered the health authorities to report after investigating allegations that some hospitals had been turning away patients during the coronavirus crisis.

Justice M Enayetur Rahim issued the order on Monday after hearing several writ petitions levelling allegations of medical negligence, overbilling and irregularities in the supply of oxygen, among others, at private and public hospitals.

The health secretary and the director-general of health services have been given until July 21 to report back to the court.

Lawyers Aneek R Haque, Ehsanur Rahman, Mahfuzur Rahman Milon, Jamiul Hoque Faisal, and Yeadia Zaman represented the writ petitioners while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam appeared on behalf of the state.

The court also issued four additional directives addressing healthcare services at hospitals during the epidemic, Ehsanur told bdnews24.com.

Hospital authorities have been told to test patients, suffering from serious ailments such as cancer and kidney complications, for COVID-19, provide the results within 36 to 48 hours and ensure their treatment at the facilities.

The government has also been directed to set the retail price of oxygen cylinders within the next 10 working days.

People can now lodge complaints with the Anti-Corruption Commission if they are charged extra for ICU or other medical services, the court said.

The court also directed the health directorate to make arrangements to field treatment-related complaints online.

Earlier on Jun 15, the High Court had issued an 11-point directive along with observations on the five writ petitions.

A day later, the Appellate Division's chamber judge upheld three of these guidelines while staying the others at the request of the state.

As per the guidelines that remain effective, the authorities are required to take steps to monitor private hospitals and clinics so that they cannot charge 'excessive or unreasonable fees' for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in ICU.

They were also directed to fix the retail and refilling prices of oxygen cylinders.