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Man dies as 3 hospitals refuse him treatment

An accident victim died after being shifted from one hospital to another in an ambulance for more than five hours for want of a bed.

delhi Updated: Nov 30, 2010 23:39 IST

An accident victim died after being shifted from one hospital to another in an ambulance for more than five hours for want of a bed.

Rambhor (50), a vegetable vendor, was hit by a speeding vehicle on Monday night at Azadpur Mandi and was first rushed to Babu Jagjiwan Ram Hospital in Jahangirpuri in north Delhi. But the hospital refused to admit him, as there were no Intensive Care Beds available. From there, he was moved to Sushruta Trauma Centre (STC) near Kashmere Gate, where he was again refused admission, as they did not have an ultrasound facility.

“The general surgeons often refuse patients of stomach injury on the pretext of absence of ultrasound facility,” said a consultant at STC on grounds of anonymity.

“If one was to monitor the surgery records of STC for the past one year, most patients who underwent surgery had orthopaedic or neuro injuries and very few general surgeries were conducted as such cases are often referred elsewhere,” said the doctor.

Janakpuri resident Rambhor was finally taken to Lok Nayak Hospital (LNH) near India Gate, which also refused him admission, saying his medico-legal documents were not in place.

Finally, the patient breathed his last in the ambulance parked on the premises of LNH without any medical attention.

“He passed away at 5am. There were too many trauma cases yesterday (Monday) night. We are trying to find out if this patient died because he was not taken care off,” a doctor with the LNH said.

“We have ordered an inquiry into the incident and we shall punish the guilty once we have a detailed report,” said Kiran Walia, Delhi health minister, acknowledging that it was an unfortunate death, which was preventable.

The Delhi health minister might have sought an explanation from the various hospitals, but the fact remains that orders of the Supreme Court were flouted by all three hospitals.

According to the apex court rulings, every state is bound to have a central bed bureau, under the health secretary, which maintains all records of bed availability in every speciality, such as the ICU, across the state.

In case an emergency medical officer/casualty medical officer does not have a bed available in his own hospital he can contact the central bed bureau and transfer the patient without wasting time.

Secondly, no patient, especially in an emergency case, can be refused treatment for want of a bed by any hospital. In this case, the patient was transferred from one hospital to the other only to be refused treatment.

First Published: Nov 30, 2010 23:38 IST