Odisha HC orders probe in death of a Muslim who was denied dialysis in lockdown
The Orissa High Court has directed the State government to quickly investigate the death of a 70-year-old man with renal malfunction who died after allegedly being denied dialysis at a private hospital in Cuttack early this month over his Muslim identity.
In an order, a bench of Orissa High Court asked the Cuttack district collector to inquire into the death of Sayed Abdul Hasan on April 10 due to the alleged denial of dialysis at Shanti Nursing Home in Cuttack town during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“The State shall also ensure that no person is denied treatment for any ailment by any hospital of the government or a private entity, if such facility is available with the hospital, and if not available, he or she should be referred to an appropriate hospital, where such facility is available. However, such treatment must be guided by the guidelines or instruction given by the State Government in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic,” said the bench comprising justices Shatrughan Pujahari and KR Mohapatra.
Azra Jamal, a lawyer-activist, had filed a PIL in Orissa HC seeking action against Shanti Nursing Home, alleging it denied dialysis treatment to Hasan, which led to his death on April 10. “Shanti Hospital in Cuttack had refused to treat the chronic kidney disease patient because he belonged to the Muslim community. As a result of which he died on the same day,” Jamal had said in her petition. She said the private hospital had turned the patient away, demanding the production of negative “Covid-19 test result before allowing him to access the dialysis facility.
The son of the deceased had initially lodged a complaint with the police alleging his father was asked to follow a lot of protocol compared to other patients upon his arrival at the hospital on April 10. Though the man was a regular patient with the nursing home for a year and a half, the hospital staff allegedly advised him against coming for dialysis. Members of the hospital management asked my father to come back with personal protection equipment for the medical staff who would give him the dialysis, the son of the deceased alleged.
The petitioner in her PIL said news reports over Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi had resulted in fear and hatred towards the Muslim community.