Medico-legal case or not, lifesaving a priority, say hospitals

April 8th, 2008 - 4:27 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) A day after a man bled to death from his gunshot wounds in a city hospital after being turned away from two others, hospital managements claimed Tuesday that saving lives was their top priority. Arun Gupta, a 47-year-old electronics goods trader, died Monday after being shot by three unidentified men near his home in south Delhi’s Kalkaji area. His son rushed him from one hospital to another but both refused to admit him, evidently for fear of being embroiled in a medico-legal case.

Gupta was finally taken to the Holy Family hospital some distance away. But it was too late and doctors declared him dead.

As newspapers readers and others reacted with shock, hospital managements said human life was paramount.

“Life saving is the foremost duty of a doctor and a hospital. In accident or medico-legal cases (MLC), all that the doctor has to do is to fill the injury sheet, which in any case is a part of the assessment of the patient,” said B.K. Rao, chairperson of the board of management and head of the critical care unit of Sir Ganga Ram hospital.

“Doctors should not be afraid of getting involved in such cases. Their priority should be to save the person’s life,” Rao told IANS.

According to officials, the hospital gets about 125 patients a day in its casualty department. Of these, five percent are MLC cases.

Added Dilpreet Brar, chief administrator of Max Healthcare: “I don’t want to comment about other hospitals, but if we get a patient who needs emergency life saving treatment, we will give it to him.

“Medico-legal cases keep happening. That doesn’t stop us from saving a person’s life first and then looking into the MLC side by side.”

Authorities at the Apollo hospital agreed and said if it was a matter of saving a life, the hospital never refused an emergency case.

According to the hospital authorities, some hospitals hesitate in taking in MLC cases immediately because of financial implications. If a patient is not accompanied by a relative, the hospital administration might hold the medical staff responsible for unpaid bills, they fear.

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