The Bombay High Court has expressed shock at a city hospital’s alleged refusal to release the body of a person to his family due to non-payment of fees.
However, doctors at Hiranandani Hospital in Powai claimed they had never withheld the body of Madhusudan Nawar (54), who passed away on February 8.
“We are shocked to see how a hospital can keep a dead body because of non-payment of bills,” remarked a division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice AV Mohta.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the deceased’s brother, Pramod Nawar, who alleged that doctors had refused to release the body until the outstanding bill amount of Rs 4.52 lakh was paid.
Harshad Ponda, counsel for the doctors – Dr Sujit Chatterjee, chief executive officer, Hiranandani Hospital, Dr Jairam Aithal and Dr Daresh Dedhiya – denied the charge.
The bench has asked them to file an affidavit stating the same in four weeks.
Pramod had also accused the doctors of medical negligence.
The preliminary post mortem report submitted by the police suggested that Madhusudan died a natural death. However, only experts could ascertain medical negligence, argued public prosecutor Satish Borulkar.
Madhusudan was taken to Hiranandani hospital on January 10, after he suffered a cardiac arrest. Dr Aithal conducted an angiography and angioplasty on the patient the same day. After three days, Aithal informed Madhusudan’s relatives that the patient was suffering from lung infection.
For a month, Madhusudan was treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). On February 6 the hospital said he was suffering from kidney failure too. After two days, he died in the evening.
On the last hearing on February 9, the court had issued notices to the hospital and directed the state to conduct a post-mortem on the body. On Monday, the court directed the body be handed over to the family for the last rites. The medical council of India has also been made party to the petition.