Venu Eye Institute and Research Centre (VEIRC) refused a critical surgery to a poor patient on Friday.
According to a Delhi High Court order, any private hospital built on government land has to provide free treatment to 10 per cent hospitalised patients and 20 per cent OPD patients who hold BPL (below poverty line) cards or have an income proof proving they belong to the BPL bracket.
A horse-cart puller from Saharanpur in UP, Brahm Pal Singh, 54, earns less than Rs 100 a day. He went to a free eye-check camp in his hometown when he was referred to VEIRC. With no vision in his left eye, Singh has been making rounds of the hospital since March 9.
"I was told I will be operated upon on March 26 but they asked me to pay Rs 10,000."
"I told them about my financial situation and that I could submit an affidavit as my income proof, but they refused to treat me," he said.
Even when lawyer Ashok Agarwal spoke to Dr Abhishek Dagar, consultant ophthalmologist and head administrative services, he refused to treat the patient without a BPL Card. Agarwal is one of the three members of the court-appointed monitoring committee that looks into private hospitals treating poor patients.
"This is disrespect of court order," Agarwal said.
Dr Dagar, meanwhile, said, "This is a complicated surgery and we don't have a doctor to do it and moreover we have at least 20-30 cataract patients for free surgery everyday."