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A private hospital affiliated with Fortis Healthcare has been ordered by a city district consumer forum to pay Rs 2.34 lakh to a poor woman for charging her for her son’s treatment despite a Delhi government’s order to provide free treatment to economically weaker section (EWS) patients.

The Central District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum ordered R B Seth Jessa Ram Hospital to refund the treatment cost of Rs 1.74 lakh to Madipur resident Gian Devi besides asking it to pay her a compensation of Rs 50,000 and Rs 10,000 as the litigation cost.

“The hospital has caused deficiency in service by demanding and accepting the expenses on consumables/medicines and forcing the complainant to purchase medicines from open market and to spend money to arrange blood for the treatment of her son”.

It should not have done so because of the guidelines (of Delhi government). Such acts of the hospital have caused deficiency in service,” the consumer forum presided by B B Chaudhary said.

The consumer forum’s order came on the plea of Gian Devi, who had alleged the hospital charged her for the treatment of her son, who, however, died later. It charged her for medicines and blood in contravention of the government’s guidelines, she said adding her late son was the sole earner in the family.

The hospital in its defence said it provided free consultation, ward, etc, as per the guidelines.

It also contended that the guidelines had been stayed by the Supreme Court, by an interim order in a case against the guidelines and as such the hospital was not required to provide free medicines.

The consumer forum rejected the contention saying the apex court’s interim stay order related only to the guidelines regarding cost of operation and not the medicines and directed the hospital to pay Rs 2.34 lakh to the woman.

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