The Delhi High Court Thursday pulled up the city government for expressing its inability to provide financial help to a rickshaw puller’s seven-year-old son suffering from the life threatening Gaucher’s disease, a genetic disorder.
Justice Manmohan told the Delhi government that it cannot deny treatment to people suffering from such serious disease and who cannot afford treatment.
“We cannot allow a person to die. You (government) have to find a way to provide medical aid to the poor patients. Funds have to be created. There cannot be vacuum. State government will have to do this,” said the court.
The court also said: “A patient cannot be denied treatment due to financial constraints and the government is bound to find a source to generate fund for the poor patient.”
Earlier, observing that cost of treatment should not be an impediment to save the life of a child suffering from a rare disease, the court had directed the central and city governments to decide if a policy can be framed to provide treatment to terminally ill patients.
The principal secretary of the Delhi government’s health department, who appeared in court said there was no policy under which the government can provide financial help and there was no resource to generate any fund.
The court, however, said the government was the sole authority and asked it to frame a policy and get it approved by the Lt. Governor.
Meanwhile, the court also accepted Rs.7.8 lakh fund generated by the Delhi High Court Bar Association and directed the AIIMS director to provide treatment to the child till the time the court disposes off the plea.
The court posted the matter for March 25.
The child, Mohd. Ahmed, has been suffering from Gaucher’s disease Type-I, and was denied free treatment by AIIMS after his parents were unable to pay Rs.4.8 lakh per month. The father of the ailing child has already lost four children to Gaucher’s disease.
Gaucher’s disease is an inherited disorder that affects many organs and tissues. Fat accumulates in cells and organs and the disease is characterised by bruising, fatigue, anaemia, low blood platelets and enlargement of the liver and spleen.