HC summons hospital MD

Hospital accused of charging parents for treatment of dead child

The High Court yesterday summoned the managing director of Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital and the chief of Directorate General of Health Services over allegations that the private hospital charged the parents for the treatment of a child who was already dead.

Issuing a suo moto rule on the duo, the court asked them to appear before it within 10:30am on February 22 to explain their roles in the alleged incident.

The HC also asked the authorities of the hospital and the DGHS to explain in 10 days why a criminal case should not be filed against the persons “responsible”.

Deputy Attorney General Shahidul Islam told The Daily Star that the court also asked the authorities to show cause as to why they should not be directed to give appropriate compensation to the family of the baby.

The HC bench of Justice M Moazzam Husain and Justice Md Badruzzaman came up with the rule and the order after two national dailies ran reports on the alleged incident yesterday.

According to the reports, a child “died” at the private hospital on February 9 but its authorities allegedly did not inform the family members about it and later demanded money from them for further treatment.

The next day, a Rapid Action Battalion mobile court claimed to have found the hospital charging for the treatment of the child, who was already dead, and violating other rules. The court fined the hospital Tk 11.5 lakh soon after.

After the raid, Mohammad Shajahan, an assistant director of the DGHS, also told reporters that the hospital was keeping the 16-month old at the ICU even a day after the child's death.

However, Prof Sardar Nayeem, chairman of the hospital, outright rejected the allegations. He claimed that the child died after the Rab team arrived there.

“My doctors even asked them [the Rab members] to have an autopsy of the child but they did not pay any heed to that,” he told The Daily Star on Wednesday.

A Rab press release said the drive, led by its Executive Magistrate Mohammad Helal Uddin, also found “inexperienced” doctors treating children, no scope for forming medical board, lack of facilities for HIV screening, inadequate number of biochemists and sale of “unregistered” drugs at the hospital.

Yesterday, the HC also asked the government to form a committee to look into an allegation of providing wrong treatment to Dr ASM Zakaria Swapan, a cancer patient, at Square Hospital in the capital.

The health secretary and the DG of the health services were asked to submit their report to the court in two months. 

The same HC bench came up with the order hearing a writ petition filed jointly by Swapan, also a professor at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, and Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, a rights organisation.