Hospital asked to compensate woman for not providing ambulance

October 21st, 2008 - 9:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) Hitting out at government hospitals for their casual and cavalier attitude towards patients, a consumer court Tuesday imposed a fine of Rs.50,000 on an Employees State Insurance (ESI) hospital for not providing ambulance to a pregnant woman who was forced to deliver in an auto rickshaw.After the delivery, the child was not provided proper nursery care facilities at the hospital, ultimately resulting in the baby’s death.

The Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, headed by Justice J.D. Kapoor, rejected the contention of hospitals that they have limited resources. Kapoor said: “These hospitals are meant for providing medical facilities to the weaker sections of the society, and making them run from pillar to post for getting treatment is inexcusable. For such grossest deficiency in service the hospitals are bound to compensate the patient for the loss suffered by them.”

The case relates to Jasde Negi, who belonged to the low income group and was a member of the ESI hospital in Noida. During her pregnancy, she used to visit the hospital regularly.

On June 21, 2007, she started getting labour pains and along with her husband rushed to the hospital. However, the medical staff did not treat her properly and instead of admitting her, directed her to go to the Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB) Hospital, Shahdara.

She alleged that the doctors during the course of her pregnancy never advised her to get the delivery done at GTB Hospital.

Negi was forced to take an auto rickshaw to go to GTB hospital as there was no other mode of transport available and the hospital had no ambulance available.

The hospital pleaded that since Negi was anaemic, the consultant referred her to GTB Hospital. No ambulance was available at the time with two out of three vehicles out of order and one put on official duty.

However, the hospital’s argument did not find favour with Justice Kapoor. He held the hospital guilty of the grossest kind of deficiency in service and observed that ambulances are vehicles that have to be kept in perfect order and available at all time.

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