The High Court Division in a ruling on Wednesday directed the health ministry to make it mandatory for private hospitals and clinics to provide emergency medical treatment to road accident victims.
The court also approved the draft guidelines on extending mandatory emergency treatment to road accident victims submitted earlier by the health ministry in compliance with a previous directive.
The health ministry was directed to notify the 16-point guidelines in the official gazette within two months.
The guidelines provide for the protection of the Samaritans, the volunteers who bring road accident victims to hospitals, from harassments by the police and the other law enforcement agencies as well as the hospitals and clinics.
A bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Farid Ahmed gave the land mark verdict after disposing a public interest litigation writ petition jointly filed in 2016 by the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust and founder of Toru voluntary group Syed Saifuddin Kamal.
The writ petition was prompted by denial of emergency treatment by three private hospitals to Arafat, who fell down from a running bus, of which he was a helper, on the Airport Road in the capital on January 21, 2016, and another speeding bus ran over him.
Syed Saifuddin took Arafat to three nearby clinics and they all refused to provide the victim emergency treatment.
Syed Saifuddin later took Arafat to the Kurmitola General Hospital with help from the police where the doctors declared him dead.
The guidelines empower the Health services not to renew licences of private hospitals or clinics not providing emergency medical treatments.
The guidelines make it mandatory for an emergency health service cell, to be created in the Health Services, to immediately shift accident victims to nearest hospitals or clinics.
The guidelines make it mandatory for private hospitals and clinics to spend money from their Corporate Social Responsibility funds for treating needy traffic accident victims spoiling time on probing financial ability of the victims.
Guidelines empower the Health Services to cancel non-compliant private hospitals’, clinics’ licences.
The guidelines stipulate protection of good Samaritans who provide voluntary service to accident victims by bringing them to nearest hospital or clinics.
Sara Hossain, Rashna Imam, Anita Ghazi Rahman and Sharmin Akhter appeared for the petitioners.