HC notice to Punjab govt, PGI for ‘turning back’ on nine-month-old obese Amritsar baby Chahat | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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HC notice to Punjab govt, PGI for ‘turning back’ on nine-month-old obese Amritsar baby Chahat

The infant’s family had returned to Amritsar on May 16 from the PGI, as her family was unable to afford Rs 2 lakh for initial tests.

punjab Updated: May 27, 2017 11:38 IST
HT Correspondent
Chahat with her father, Suraj, at their residence in Mohkampura in Amritsar.
Chahat with her father, Suraj, at their residence in Mohkampura in Amritsar.(Gurpreet Singh/HT Photo)

The Punjab and Haryana high court has invoked its suo motu powers on the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER)turning its back on treatment of a nine-month-old obese girl(she weighs 20-kg) from Amritsar, Chahat.

The infant’s family had returned to Amritsar on May 16 from the PGI, as her family was unable to afford Rs 2 lakh for initial tests.

The required weight of a 9-month infant should be between 6.6-10.4 kg.

20-KG AT NINE MONTHS
  • The baby was born on July 24, 2016 via normal delivery. Her weight was normal, but she started gaining it when she was 4-months
  • Reports had claimed that she could be cured, provided doctors conducted diagnostic tests
  • In the absence of any treatment, there was likely to be additional weight gain and further abnormalities in child growth
  • The weight of Chahat’s parents is normal. But the family has a history of serious obesity.

The Punjab government and the PGI have been put on notice seeking their response on the issue.

“These reports trace the journey of the helpless and bewildered parents taking their child from one hospital to another from Amritsar to Chandigarh and returning to Amritsar dejected and resigned to their fate as they were unable to afford the cost of the treatment,” justice HS Sidhu in his note to the chief justice, requesting for suo motu cognizance of news reports, many of them published in Hindustan Times.

In his note, the judge raised questions over the PGI’s dealing with the case and the mechanism at the institute to help poor patients.

Justice Sidhu’s note added that while there was no doubting the sincerity, commitment and dedication of PGI staff and doctors, but the incident had raised questions on the fate of poor patients referred to the institute, who may remain untreated, unable to bear the cost.

The baby was born on July 24, 2016 via normal delivery.

Her weight was normal, but she started gaining it when she was four-months.

Reports had claimed that she could be cured.

She was referred to the PGI from Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar.

QUESTIONS RAISED BY COURT:

How PGI, which is a premier institute does not have the wherewithal to get to the bottom of this medical situation

Would the PGI not be required to have its own in-house testing facility in furtherance of its research

What avenues were explored by PGIMER in seeking a waiver of charges from the institute at Bangalore for carrying out the tests.

Did PGI call upon the Amritsar hospital to sponsor the cost of charges, considering the public statement of the hospital that it would bear the cost of child’s treatment.

Can a welfare fund for poor patients or a mechanism of such sort be instituted for such contingencies

Are the poor patients made aware of the existence of such fund

In case of no funds, can the PGI not explore the possibility of funding through an appeal to citizens especially in such cases raising funds through crowd funding or any other means through social media

Why can PGIMER not maintain a list of donors (individuals, NGOs etc who can be reached for assistance)

Would the safeguard under Article under 21 of the Constitution (“No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty) not extend to free treatment in the given fact and circumstances

Does the state not have an obligation to protect and treat its citizens, in such medical conditions, at subsidised rates