On October 23, the Kerala High Court directed a hospital which was accused of not discharging the patient because of the non-payment of the medical bills, to straightaway discharge the patient, and let the mother take her son home.
The double-judge Bench of Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice T. R. Ravi was hearing the appeal of a distressed mother who sought discharge before the Court for her son from the hospital. The argument of the plaintiff was that because of the apparent dues in the hospital, the management refused to discharge her son.
To this, the Court ordered the Station House Officer and a Medical Doctor to visit the hospital to file a report on the situation of the plaintiff’s son.
The plaintiff said that it was on the persistence of payment of bills by the defendant that they continued after July 2020 and the defendant stated that though discharge was made, the plaintiff insisted that they will continue till the payment is made. The Bench accepted the copy of the statement brought before it and observed that the son of the petitioner was ready for discharge even in July 2020.
The bench said that they found it difficult to comprehend the version of the defendant since the complaint was filed before the Police regarding the return of money which the Police are not entitled to proceed with. The report clearly mentioned that the plaintiff's son can be discharged and does not require any further treatment.
The defendant has clearly said that the patient was discharged early on 8 July 2020. Hence, the Court thinks that the plaintiff stayed back only for the due amount since the version of the defendant says that despite discharge the plaintiff and her son did not vacate the room cannot be believed.
The bench directed the discharge to be made immediately and the plaintiff is allowed to take her son home. It may be noted that based on a reference made by the Chief Justice of India, the Madhya Pradesh High Court in June 2020 took cognizance of a tragic incident in the state where an elderly man suffering from Covid was tied to a bed after he allegedly failed to make payment of fees for his treatment at a hospital in Shajapur District based on a letter written by Former Law Minister and Senior Advocate Dr Ashwani Kumar.