Thursday January 23, 2020

Delhi High Court seeks response from AIIMS for denying treatment


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Saturday came to the rescue of a  destitute woman, who was allegedly denied free treatment of total hip replacement surgery by the AIIMS. The court sought response from the Central government and AIIMS authorities.

Asha Devi, 35, a resident of Bihar, moved the high court after the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) asked her to deposit in advance Rs 1,27,000 for the treatment.

Justice Manmohan also issued notice to the Bihar government as to why the poor patients were not getting free treatment in Bihar itself and were forced to seek medical help in Delhi.

The court also directed the medical superintendent/director of AIIMS to get Asha Devi examined and file a status report on or before the next date of hearing, February 19.

AIIMS refused to perform a total hip replacement surgery on Asha Devi for Reiter’s Disease, on account of her inability to pay the hefty cost of the surgery, said the plea.

Asha Devi belongs to the lower strata of the society and said the Centre refused to bear the expenses of the treatment required by her, thereby, violating her human and fundamental right to life as guaranteed to her under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, advocate Ashok Agarwal, appearing for Devi, told the court.

“Every person is entitled to equality before law and equal protection of law. Also, no person can be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. Thus, the state is bound to protect life and liberty of every human being,” he further contended.

Asha Devi is an illiterate married woman and her husband is 100 percent hearing-impaired and unemployed. They have four children — three of whom are attending government school in Bihar. Her father-in-law works as an agriculture labourer and earns an average of Rs.5-6 thousand a month. The family has no other source of income, said the plea.

Around six months back, she was advised by a doctor in Bihar to approach AIIMS for treatment.

Accordingly, she approached AIIMS on December 16, 2015, where doctors advised total hip replacement surgery for her.

AIIMS asked her to deposit the hefty amount towards the cost of implants. Thereafter, she made a written representation on January 19 to the hospital and the central government requesting that she be provided totally free treatment as she belongs to the economically-weaker section and lives in abject poverty.

The plea added that she possesses income certificate dated December 19, 2015 from the government of Bihar indicating annual income of Rs.70,000, and National Food Security Card which is issued to a person having less than Rs.1 lakh annual income.

The hospital refused to provide her free treatment saying she should have an income certificate below Rs.4,000 per month income or a Below Poverty Line (BPL) card — Devi does not possess either.

She said her condition was continuing to deteriorate each day and she needed immediate surgery.(IANS)

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AIIMS Prepares Research Project on Air Pollution’s Impact on Health

"People with respiratory problems are increasing. Apart from asthma patients, there were fresh cases who visited AIIMS owing to pollution,"

AIIMS launches research project on air pollution's impact on health.

As the National Capital Region (NCR) battles poor air quality during winter, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has started a research project to study the effects of air pollution on public health.

“Delhi’s air quality deteriorates every year during Diwali owing to multiple reasons like stubble burning and bursting of crackers. However, last year, when the air pollution level escalated, we noticed a surge in patients visiting AIIMS,” Dr Karan Madan, Associate Professor, Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Disorders, AIIMS, who is part of this research programme, told IANS.

So the country’s premier medical research and referral hospital decided to conduct empirical research on the impact of air pollution on health.

For the study, titled “DAPHNE” (Delhi Air Pollution Health And Effects), AIIMS researchers have developed an air pollution sensor technology.

“This sort of study has not been earlier conducted in India. The device has been developed in a belt format which is very light and it gives clear continuous pollution data. The belt can be wrapped around the waist or on the arms,” Madan said.

air pollution, Pollution, pollutants
In this Sept. 19, 2018 photo steam and cooling towers of a lignite power plant are reflected in a pond in Peitz, eastern Germany. VOA

He explained that the device is wireless and directly sends data to a monitoring system through a Global Positioning System (GPS). AIIMS is primarily focusing on children suffering from pulmonary diseases like asthma, bronchitis and other breathing troubles — as well as pregnant women.

The device, which is to be worn by children suffering from asthma or bronchitis, will give an idea of the exposure level of air pollution when one is travelling in the school bus, at home, when in school, or outdoors while playing.

“On pregnant women, we are trying to see how pollution might affect the unborn child. We are also trying to figure out the birth rate issue from this study owing to poor air quality,” Madan noted.

Funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, and Medical Research Council, Britain, the project is a collaborative effort of the the two nations.

In India, apart from AIIMS, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, IIT Delhi and GTB Hospital are also associated with the research.

India, air pollution, WHO, diwali, Pollution, Delhi, egypt, air quality
A man walks in front of the India Gate shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India. VOA

“While the data on asthma in children will be compiled at AIIMS, GTB Hospital will be following the cases of pregnant women,” Madan said.

The research process, initiated last year, began on a pilot basis two months ago. Dr Madan stated that around 10 children have been given this belt across Delhi NCR.

“So far, the project is going good and the readings have come accurate. The study will conclude next year and the report will be released,” he added.

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Talking about the rise in health hazards among residents in the National Capital Region and its surrounding areas, Madan said that AIIMS has witnessed an increase of 15-20 per cent in the number of patients with cases of respiratory problems like coughing, heavy breathing, asthma symptoms, and burning sensation in throat and nose.

“People with respiratory problems are increasing. Apart from asthma patients, there were fresh cases who visited AIIMS owing to pollution,” he stated. (IANS)