Demanding action against hospitals, Rajya Sabha MP and member of the Parliamentary ad hoc Committee on Health and Family Welfare, Sanjeev Arora said that hospitals have no right to hold the body of patient hostage for any reason.
In a statement, the AAP MP Sanjeev Arora said, “Such incidents are happening despite this right being in place in the country. I advise the administrations of all districts that this right should be known to citizens and also take severe action as per law is taken against violators.”
He also advised to all stakeholders and concerned administration in states and districts for creating awareness on the issue.
“There is a need to create an awareness among the masses that as per the Charter of Patients’ Rights, people have a right that even if the hospital bill is not paid of a deceased, the dead body cannot be held hostage by the hospital,” Sanjeev Arora said.
The Rajya Sabha MP further said that he will also be writing to the Health Minister in this regard.
“I have personally received several cases from the victim’s family that the hospital is not handing over bodies to the victim’s families due to various reasons, especially for outstanding bills, lack of proper monitoring and justice. I will write to the Health Minister in this regard. And ask them to take cognisance/action against the hospitals concerned, if they are found guilty of not following the law,” he added.
He said that during the recent Rajya Sabha session also, this question was raised. Replying to that, the Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar had said that the release of dead body of a patient cannot be denied for any reason by the hospitals.
Addressing the Parliament, Dr Bharati Pawar, had said, “The Patients’ Rights Charter, as approved by the National Council for Clinical Establishments, a statutory body, under the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, is available in public domain. As per Guidelines, of the said Charter, the release of dead body of a patient cannot be denied for any reason by the hospitals.”
She further added, “The aforesaid Charter has been shared with all the States and UTs for adoption and implementation, so that grievances and concerns of patients are addressed while ensuring smooth and cordial environment in clinical establishments. State/Union Territory (UT) Government takes appropriate steps to protect the family of a deceased from instances of exploitation by the hospitals.”
Ludhiana-based lawyer and former Additional Advocate General of Punjab, Harpreet Sandhu, also talked on the issue and said, “Confining a dead body in a hospital would amount to wrongful confinement as defined under Section 340 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.”
“Hospitals have no legal authority to detain a dead body for failing to pay their bills,” Sandhu added.