The Delhi High Court Tuesday issued notices to the central government and the capital's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Safdarjung Hospital on news reports claiming that three burns patients died due to lack of treatment after they were refused admission in the two government-run hospitals.
Justice S.N. Agrawal asked the governement and the two hospitals to file their replies by Sep 19 stating the reasons for not admitting the patients who had approached AIIMS and Safdarjung.
Media reports said that seven members of an Agra-based family approached the AIIMS for treatment, which in return referred them to Safdarjung, which has a specialised burns ward, across the road.
The union health ministry and the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) were also asked to respond to the notice.
"The conscience of this court was shocked on reading the news items. Three patients have died and many others are suffering only because of refusal to receive the patients by two hospitals - AIIMS and Safdarjung - for one or the other reason," Justice Agrawal said in the order.
"This is a serious matter. The refusal by the hospital to receive patients for any reason is a matter of great public importance," he added, directing the court officials to list the matter as a public suit.
The seven members of an Agra family had suffered severe burns in a LPG cylinder blast at their house. Three of them died outside Safdarjung Hospital Sunday.
Reacting to newspaper reports about the deaths of the three, who were turned away from Safdarjung Hospital reportedly because of lack of beds, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss defended the hospital, saying that there was shortage of beds and the authorities were trying to improve the capacity in the hospital.