A court order to provide free medication to patients suffering from haemophilia, a genetic disorder that prevents blood from clotting effectively, was a tad too late to save the life of Yashraj Gupta, a medical student who succumbed to the disorder on September 20.
Gupta died a month after the Bombay High Court issued a notice to the state after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by four patients — Vinay Nair, Rupal Panchal, Sunil Jadhav and Selvin Furtardo — suffering from haemophilia, urging the government to provide them free medical aid under a scheme caught in bureaucratic procedure.
The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Nitin Jamdar yesterday ordered, “The pendency of this petition does not prevent the release of medicines free of cost to the patients.”
The petition, which was filed along with Mumbai chapter of the Haemophilia Society, states that treatment for haemophilia is expensive, and the states of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Kerala have been providing free treatment since several years.
Sanctioned in 2010
Speaking to MiD DAY, advocate Kranti LC, who represented the petitioners, said, “The state government has been sitting on a proposal by the State Blood Transfusion Centre to provide such patients free treatment. In 2010, the proposal for haemophilia was sanctioned and Rs 24 crore was allotted. In 2011, they increased the budget to 52 crore and added thalassaemia. Later, they added sickle cell anaemia to the list and the budget was increased to Rs 92 crore. But, the proposal is still pending with the state government.”
Yashraj’s father Shyamlal, a resident of Nallasopara, lamenting the loss of his son, stated that his son’s life could have been saved had the court order come earlier.
“My son was keen on becoming a doctor. But, since childhood, he had pain in his joints and would bleed internally. On September 11, he had a fall, but we never knew the circumstances. There is a lot of money involved in the treatment for haemophilia. Each injection costs between Rs 35,000 to 75,000, and needs to be administered up to four times a day until the bleeding stops.”
Advocate Gayatri Singh, who also represents the petitioners, pointed out to the court that Gupta had died after the state had been issued notice by the court.
Additional government pleader GW Mattos sought time to take further instructions in the matter.
Did you know?
In July, the court had ordered that the government should ensure mandatory screening of newborns for haemophilia, to ensure an early diagnosis of the disorder
What is haemophilia?
It is a group of inherited blood disorders in which the blood does not clot properly