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Judicial public health insurance precedent continues? HC notice for free AIIMS cancer patient care

The Delhi high court today issued notices to the central and Delhi governments and AIIMS on a plea of a man who has sought directions to the hospital to provide his brother, a blood cancer patient, free and continuous treatment, after the court in April had ordered the Delhi government to pay for treatment in a separate case to do the same for a sufferer of a rare disease.

The 30-year-old Satish has been undergoing chemotherapy at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and his family has already spent around Rs.3 lakh on treatment, but they cannot afford expenses for the treatment further, the plea said.

Justice VP Vaish sought response from the health ministry, the Delhi government and AIIMS by June 10.

In his plea filed through advocate Ashok Aggarwal, Anand Kumar Morya said his brother Satish, a resident of Mathura who ran a photocopy-cum-lamination shop, was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Leukemia, a form of blood cancer, in March, barely three months after his marriage.

Due to his condition, the shop had to be closed down and machines sold off to bear the cost of treatment, said the plea. Satish’s father, a Class 4 railway employee with a monthly salary of Rs.12,000, was now the sole earning member in a family of six, it said.

The patient’s father has exhausted all his savings on the treatment, and even his provident fund account is left with a meagre balance of Rs.24,550, said the petition.

“They (the family) have been given an additional expenditure estimate of Rs.6 lakh recently, which they are unable to bear. The petition thus seeks continuation of treatment at AIIMS free of cost in order to save Satish’s life,” it said.

The plea said the family was not in a position to bear the expenditure and, under such circumstances, Satish’s chemotherapy was likely to get interrupted and discontinuation of treatment would lead to an anomalous situation by reversing the gains of treatment already given. This will ultimately endanger the patient’s life.

Pointing out that Satish has been responding well to the treatment and his condition has improved, the plea said the family had, in representations on May 1 and 13 to the AIIMS director, requested free continuation of treatment, but no response has been received so far.

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