Delhi HC asks Center to explain its stand on plea for free treatment at AIIMS

Delhi High Court has sought response from the central government, Delhi government and AIIMS on a plea filed by a rickshaw puller who wants free treatment for his 7 year old son – a victim of Gaucher’s disease.

Delhi HC asks Center to explain its stand on plea for free treatment at AIIMS. Apparently, the father who filed the plea seeking direction to the hospital for free treatment, already lost four of his children to Gaucher’s disease – a potentially fatal but curable genetic disorder.

The disease leads to abnormal accumulation of fats in certain organs as well as cells, thus bringing forth symptoms such as fatigue, bruising, low blood platelets, anemia, liver enlargement, spleen and so on. Certain types of Gaucher’s disease can be treated with enzyme replacement therapy.

The plea was filed through advocate Ashok Agarwal, and it raised the following crucial question: “whether AIIMS being a government hospital is under constitutional obligation to provide free treatment to the patients who cannot afford the same because of heavy cost involved therein or poor patients can be left to the mercy of God if they are not in a position to meet the cost of the treatment and whether the respondents 1 (Centre) and 2 (Delhi government) are under duty to arrange for the continuous and uninterrupted treatment of the patients,” Economic Times reports.

Justice VK Jain, the honorable judge overseeing the court proceeding on the matter, has asked the government to clarify its stand on some of the important questions raised by the petition, including whether or not government hospitals are duty-bound to provide free treatment to those who can not afford expensive medicines.

However, the High Court also noted that, “ideally no one should suffer for want of treatment. But we have a population of billions. Tomorrow, there will be a flood of such cases (if this plea is allowed).”

Meanwhile, the Delhi government said that they were not aware of any possible reason why AIIMS should be charging, especially when they are expected to provide free treatments.

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