Court wants ambulance service free of cost

     IN A significant patient-friendly order, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the centre and the Delhi Government to take steps to make ambulance service free of cost.

      The HC also took serious exception to the misuse of ambulances in government hospitals and dispensaries and delay in carrying out post-mortem examination by hospitals. Justice VB. Gupta gave orders while dismissing an appeal filed by a bus owner convicted of rash and negligent driving and ramming a Maruti can A woman was killed, while three of her family members were injured in the accident.

     Justice Gupta said: “In the hour of grief, little solace can be provided to the family of the deceased by the authorities concerned by ensuring that at least post mortem is conducted as early as possible and the ambulance service is provided to the victim or injured free of cost. It is hoped that the respective government would take necessary steps in this regard.” Varun Goswami, the lawyer who had filed a PIL in the court complaining about the misuse of ambulances, welcomed the court’s direction.

      “Considering the number of accidents occurring in Delhi, ambulance operators should not be allowed to exploit the poor and needy victims. I have been making repeated requests to the court, which only left it to the government and market forces. In that context today’s observations are landmark.”

     ‘Do not delay post-mortem’ Justice Gupta noted that the plight of family members is worse in case a person dies in a road accident.

     “The culprit is bailed out then and there and he happily goes back to his family, whereas the family members of the deceased undergo trauma and torture at the hands of police and hospital authorities and they run from pillar to post to get the postmortem done. It takes hours and sometimes days to conduct postmortem of a victim. This situation should change,” said the court. harish.nair@hindustantimes.com

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