In the first ever instance of National Human Rights Commission giving public hearing to medical negligence cases against both government and private hospitals, the panel has agreed to attend to such complaints at a two-day grievance redressal forum in Mumbai.
The event, assisted by Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), a network of civil society organisations, would be organised on January 6-7 at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences campus.
Maharashtra Human Rights Commission Chairman S R Bannurmath said, "We've chalked out the agenda and shortlisted the cases. They would be thoroughly discussed in the two-day event. This is a rare initiative to protect human rights."
The event convenor and member of the JSA, Dr Leni Chaudhari, informed that about 125 complaints filed against erring hospitals have been shortlisted. "The grievances would be placed before Human Rights panels from four states - Maharshtra, Gujarat, Goa and Rajasthan," she said.
As many as 55 cases of medical negligence from Maharashtra, 30 each from Gujarat and Rajasthan, and 10 from Goa would be heard, she said, adding remedial action would be decided after the hearings. "The victims of medical negligence, who run from pillar to post in the hope of justice, would finally get a platform to share their anguish with the NHRC Chairman and the heads of human rights panels of the four states," Chaudhari said.
At present, the patients having grievances against private hospitals go either to the courts or to the Consumer Forum, she said.
Dr Ashish Tiwari, a medical expert, commenting on the initiative, said, "It is a good move as the patient must be heard in case of negligence. However, it should be impartial and fair to both the parties. Special care should be taken to prevent frivolous complaints against the healthcare professionals as it might hamper their spirit."
Tiwari said the motto of the doctor-patient relationship is the patient's wellbeing and any negligence pointed out by him must be heard by competent authorities.