In response to a tragic incident where 17 individuals lost their vision following cataract surgery at a trust hospital in January, the Gujarat High Court has taken a decisive step by directing the government to ensure the registration of all hospitals under the Clinical Establishment Act, irrespective of their size. This landmark ruling aims to enhance accountability and regulatory oversight in the healthcare sector to prevent similar incidents in the future.
HC's trailblazing directive
The Gujarat High Court has issued a trailblazing directive mandating the registration of all hospitals in the state under the Clinical Establishment Act, following a disturbing incident where 17 individuals suffered vision loss after undergoing cataract surgery at a trust hospital in January. The court's intervention comes as a response to growing concerns over the safety and quality of healthcare services provided by medical facilities across the state.
During the hearing presided over by a bench comprising Chief Justice Sunita Aggarwal and Justice Anirudh Mayee, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi, representing the state government, informed the court about the government's action to amend the Clinical Establishment Act in December 2023. The court sought clarity on the cause of the incident, questioning whether it resulted from substandard medication, inadequate facilities, or improper maintenance of medical equipment.
Lack of accountability in healthcare system
Expressing concern over the lack of accountability in the healthcare system, the court emphasized the need for adequate compensation to be provided to the victims and called for a thorough investigation into the matter. Notices were issued to the secretary of the health department and the superintendent of Ahmedabad rural police to submit a preliminary report on the incident to the court.
The court also highlighted the importance of regulating medical camps, citing similar incidents reported from Amreli and Oganaj. It underscored the necessity of imposing stringent rules and regulations on such medical camps to ensure patient safety and prevent malpractice. The court emphasized the significance of registering every medical establishment to enforce accountability and transparency in the healthcare sector.
Court addresses working conditions of doctors
Furthermore, the court addressed the working conditions of doctors, stressing the need for a corporate-like approach in their practice. It called for better infrastructure and support for healthcare professionals, acknowledging the challenges they face due to heavy workloads and inadequate resources. The court urged the state government to take proactive measures to control medical camps and improve working conditions for doctors.
As the hearing concluded, the court adjourned further proceedings for two weeks to study the affidavit filed by the government. The directive to register all hospitals under the Clinical Establishment Act marks a significant step towards ensuring the safety and well-being of patients in Gujarat.