The High Court on Monday asked the Directorate General of Health Services to investigate allegations of deaths of patients for denial of treatment by both government and private hospitals or clinics.
The online bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim also directed the DGHS to submit to it its report in this regard on July 21.
The court asked the hospitals to conduct the COVID-19 test on cancer and other serious patients within 36 to 48 hours of the request to facilitate their treatment.
The court also directed the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate hospitals if they charged patients excessive bills for the use of intensive care unit facilities.
The court directed the Drug Administration to fix oxygen price in 10 working days.
The court issued afresh the five directives after hearing five pending public interest litigation writ petitions and a new writ petition filed by two aggrieved persons, Jebul Hasan and Helal Uddin.
Petitioners’ lawyers Aneek R Haque, Mahfuzur Rahaman Milon and Yeadia Zaman submitted to the court a report stating that 20 patients died because of the denial of the treatment to them by several renowned hospitals.
The petitioners of the five PIL writ petitions are Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University’s deputy registrar Sheikh Abdullah Al Mamun, four Supreme Court lawyers Nazmul Huda, Jamiul Hoque Faisal, Mehedi Hasan and AKM Ehsanur Rahman and Aynoonnahar Siddeque.
After hearing the five writ petitions, Justice Enayetur Rahim’s bench on June 14 issued nine directives, eight of which were stayed by the Appellate Division on June 15 following the government’s appeal.
The Appellate Division upheld three directives, including one seeking report from the health secretary and the health services director general by June 30 on separate treatment for COVID-19 patients.
The second directive banned the sale of oxygen cylinders without prescriptions and identification of the patients and asked the commerce ministry and the Consumers Association of Bangladesh to fix the prices of oxygen cylinders and their refilling and to put the price chart on display at the shops.
The Appellate Division also upheld the directive to strengthen the monitoring by the health secretary and the DGHS to prevent private hospitals and clinics from realising excessive bills for treatment.
One of the eight directives, stayed by the Appellate Division, said that the denial of treatment by government or private hospitals or clinics resulting in the death of the patient would constitute a criminal offence of causing death by negligence.
The two aggrieved persons, Jebul Hasan and Helal Uddin, in their writ petitions prayed for a directive to compensate the families of all patients who died because of the denial of treatment by both public and private hospitals.
Jebul Hasan, a businessman, filed the petition stating that his mother was denied treatment by two private hospitals in Chattogram recently.
Helal Uddin’s father Md Hossain died on July 2 after being denied treatment allegedly by Park View hospital, also in Chattogram.
He said that police were wasting time to record a case against the hospital authorities for the negligence that caused his father’s death. The hospital authorities did not admit his father without a COVID 19 certificate.
The petitioner’s lawyer Yeadia Zaman drew the attention of the High Court to a report published in the Kaler Kantha on June 27 under the headline ‘Seven days’ oxygen bills were charged after giving oxygen for 30 minutes’.
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