close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
 
October 23, 2020

Emergency treatment

Editorial

 
October 23, 2020

There have been complaints from the family of young 18-year-old Yasir who was injured in the Maskan Chowrangi blast in Karachi caused by gas cylinders on Wednesday that the private hospital to which he was taken refused to offer him treatment unless payment was made. This violates the Sindh Injured Persons Compulsory Medical Treatment Act popularly known as the Amal Omer Act of 2019, named after a child who was killed in an incident involving shooting. The Act demands that those who need emergency treatment be offered such help at any hospital regardless of its status, and that any matters dealing with finance be handled after their lives have been saved, or the best efforts to do so have been made.

This is the norm everywhere in the world, where families naturally value the life of every loved one, and cannot bear the extra burden of crashing from one hospital to another to find one, usually a government hospital, which will treat the person. There have been many incidents in the past where this has happened. The hospital administration denies that Yasir was denied treatment and says that every help was offered to him under the Act and on humanitarian grounds. In the meanwhile, private hospitals say that the Sindh government very rarely gives out the compensation it had promised private hospitals in the case where a person is unable to pay and has been treated at their premises. The government in turn denies this. As per policies, it does hand out millions each year to people treated at private hospitals in an emergency situation. This is a matter we need to follow up more strongly in all places, and in all our cities. It is obvious that the problem remains in place. The main purpose of a hospital is to treat the sick and cure those who require treatment.

It is unacceptable that people should be turned away because they are unable to pay on the spot. The passing of the Act by the Sindh government was an honourable duty. It now needs to make sure that the Amal Omer Act is properly implemented and followed by all medical centres. People must not be turned away because they do not have the cash to pay for the treatment of someone who has suffered grave injury or sickness. This basic principle must be adhered to. As happens far too often, laws which are put in place are not implemented. As a result, people suffer. It is the duty of the government to ensure that all private hospitals follow the law which is now in place so that loss of life can be avoided at all costs.