Mandatory Registration for Trusts & Private Hospitals with 50+ Beds under Clinical Establishment Act

On January 10, a total of 29 cataract patients underwent surgery at Mandal Ramanand Trust Hospital in Viramgam, Ahmedabad district. Shockingly, 17 of them experienced loss of vision post-operation. While 5 affected individuals sought treatment at Asarwa Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad, the remaining 12 received treatment at Ramanand Trust Hospital. The incident prompted a suo moto case in the High Court, leading to discussions on amending the Clinical Establishment Act.

Proposed Amendments to Clinical Establishment Act: Mandatory Registration for Hospitals

The government aims to amend the Clinical Establishment Act, making registration mandatory for hospitals with over 50 beds. Previously, registration was only required for establishments exceeding this bed capacity. This proposed change aims to extend the Act’s policies to all hospitals meeting the specified criteria.

Court Inquiry and Questions Raised

During the court hearing, Chief Justice Sunita Aggarwal and Justice Anirudh Myi questioned the government about the incident’s cause—whether it was due to substandard medicine, lack of facilities, or inadequate maintenance of medical equipment. No FIRs have been filed against medical staff, but the court stressed the need for adequate compensation to the victims. Notices were issued to the health department secretary and the Ahmedabad rural police superintendent, demanding a preliminary investigation report.

Regulation of Medical Camps

Gautam Joshi, a friend of the court, advocated for the regulation of medical camps, citing instances from Amreli and Oganaj. While not opposing the trust, Joshi emphasized the necessity of imposing rules on medical camps. He urged mandatory registration for all medical clinic establishments, expressing concerns about the lack of accountability regarding medical supplies and surgeries conducted under such setups.

Doctor Obligations and Government’s Corporate Approach

Advocate General Kamal Trivedi highlighted the challenges faced by doctors in rural areas and the necessity for postgraduate doctors to sign bonds for service in rural regions. The court raised concerns about the government providing corporate salaries to doctors without corresponding corporate-level commitment. Further discussions on doctor workloads, patient influx, and corporate-like responsibilities were deferred for two weeks.

Investigation Findings and Outreach Efforts

In the aftermath of the scandal, a team of specialist doctors investigated the incident, suspecting infection from post-operative eye drops. Operations at Ramanand Trust Hospital were temporarily suspended. Out of the 29 affected individuals, 9 were from Ahmedabad district, 12 from Surendranagar district, and 8 from Patan district. The investigation revealed that a total of 74 people underwent cataract surgery from January 1 to January 10, with efforts made to contact and assess all affected individuals.

Niyati Rao

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