Can’t expect poor COVID-19 patients to give proof for free t
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The Bombay High Court observed that COVID-19 patients from poor and indigent sections cannot be expected to produce documentary proof to avail subsidized or free treatment while getting admitted to hospitals.

• The court on Friday (26 June) was hearing a plea filed by seven residents of a slum rehabilitation building in Bandra, who had been charged Rs 12.5 lakh by KJ Somaiya Hospital for COVID-19 treatment between April 11 and April 28.

• The petitioners had borrowed money and managed to pay Rs 10 lakh out of Rs 12.5 lakh that the hospital had demanded, after threatening to halt their discharge if they failed to clear the bill, counsel informed the court.

• According to the plea, the petitioners were also overcharged for PPE kits and unused services.

• Advocate representing slum residents further argued that COVID-19 patients, who are in distress, cannot be expected to produce income certificate and such documents as proof.

• However, senior advocate who represented the hospital, said the petitioners did not belong to economically weak or indigent categories and had not produced documents to prove the same.

A person who is suffering from a disease like COVID-19 could not be expected to produce certificates from a tehsildar or social welfare officer before seeking admission in the hospital, the bench noted and asked the hospital to deposit Rs 10 lakh in court within two weeks.

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