The Karnataka health department has issued a notice to 18 private hospitals in the city for refusing treatment to a 52-year-old man with Covid symptoms who later died, an official said on Wednesday.
"You are required to reply to the show cause (notice) within 24 hours as to why action should not be initiated against you under the provisions of KMPE and State Disaster Management Act," said Health Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey to the private hospitals.
The private hospitals are Fortis - Cunningham Road, Mahaveer Jain Hospital - Vasanth Nagar, Suguna Hospital - Rajajinagar, Manipal Hospital and Brindavan Hospital – Chamarajpet, Rangadorai Hospital - Chamarajpet, Vikram Hospital, Sakra Hospital and Bowring Hospital, among others.
Incidentally, the deceased patient's son and nephew took him to 18 private hospitals across the city on Saturday and Sunday but all of them rejected admitting him on some pretext such as unavailability of beds or ventilators.
"The patient succumbed due to denial of admission by 18 private hospitals contacted by the said patient as none of these hospitals have admitted him," said Pandey.
Denying treatment to a Covid patient amounts to the violation of Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Act, 2017 (KPME).
"They should strictly adhere to the provisions under Sections 11 and 11 A of KPME. Private medical establishments cannot deny, refuse, or avoid treatment to patients with Covid and Covid-like symptoms," observed Pandey.
The violation assumes significance because it occurred on the very day the state government issued a blanket order that no private hospital can deny Covid treatment.
Addressing the heads of the nine hospitals, Pandey said, "By denying the admission to the deceased patient, your hospitals have violated the provisions of the above said Act. You are liable for legal action in this regard."
The health commissioner warned that hospitals denying treatment to patients during this critical time of pandemic outbreak will not be spared and dealt with stringently.