EWS DETAILS Gujarat HC Seeks Govt Affidavit On Compliance Of Law After 17 Patients Lose Eyesight

Ahmedabad: After 17 people lost their eyesight following surgeries at a trust-run hospital in Ahmedabad in January this year, a division bench of the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday inquired whether provisions of the Gujarat Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2021 is being complied with.

It also directed the principal secretary of the Gujarat Health department to file an affidavit regarding the same by March 20.

Around 103 patients were operated upon at the Ramanand Eye Hospital in Ahmedabad’s Mandal block between January 1 and 10, following which 21 were found with signs of postoperative infection after cataract surgeries.

On January 17, the Gujarat High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports on 17 of the patients going blind and had initiated proceedings as a public interest litigation.

The direction on Wednesday came while the bench of Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha Mayee were dealing with a suo motu public interest litigation on the loss of eyesight of 17 persons.

The Act requires compulsory registration of clinical establishments with more than 50 beds and the state, through the health department, had earlier informed the court that it had initiated the process of amending the rules of the Act to require mandatory registration of all clinical establishments in the state, regardless of bed capacity.

The bench on Tuesday also inquired from Advocate General Kamal Trivedi whether the state council has been constituted as prescribed in the Act.

The bench went on to record in its order, “We find it fit to make an inquiry as to whether the provisions of the 2021 Act providing for constitution of state council for clinical establishment, maintenance of registers of clinical establishments by the authority, namely District Registering Authority, state council for clinical establishment is in place.”

It added, “We may also note that the Act prescribes the functions of the state council for clinical establishments which include: – to determine standards of clinical establishments and to specify the rights of patients; compiling and updating of state registers of clinical establishments; repressing the state in the national council.”

It further said, “It puts responsibility on the state council to compile and update the state registers of clinical establishments of the state and further to send the monthly returns in digital format for updating the national register. Section 8 of the 2021 Act further provides that the state may classify the clinical establishments of different systems into such categories as it may deem fit and then provide different standards for different categories, having regard to the local conditions. We would also like to make an inquiry as to whether provisions of section 8 have been followed in the state or not.”

The court has kept the matter for further consideration on March 20.

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