No relief to hospital owner accused in Adulterated platelets row: HC slams hospitals, doctors treating patients as tools for earning money

Allahabad: Rejecting the bail plea of the owner of the building of a private hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj, the Allahabad High Court recently observed that several private hospital management and doctors are treating patients as a tool of earning money.

“For a patient, hospital is like a temple wherein doctors are worshipped as a God. However, of late, there are many reported incidents that both management of hospitals and doctors are treating patients as a tool of earning money and for that they are indulging in such practice which are contrary to their hippocratic oath and specifically when there are scarcity of medicines, medical instruments and platelets, as was in the present case,” observed the HC bench Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery.

The High Court was considering a bail plea of the owner of the building which housed a private hospital in Prayagraj, who had ealier been arrested for allegedly transfusing poorly preserved blood platelets to a dengue patient last year, which ultimately resulted in the patient’s death.

Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the owner, identified as Pappu Lal Sahu, a sand contractor, was arrested near Global Hospital after it was found that Pappu and his son Satish Sahu were responsible for supplying the family of the patient with the platelets.

The family members of the deceased had initially alleged that the man was given sweet lime juice instead of blood platelets, following which the hospital was sealed, and a probe was ordered, revealing that it was poorly preserved blood platelets and not sweet lime juice which was given to the patient.

Also Read: Poorly preserved platelets row: Owner of Prayagraj hospital arrested over death of dengue patient

The accused Pappu Lal Sahu approached the HC bench and filed a bail application seeking enlargement on bail in connection to the case under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468, 471, 274, 304, 120B IPC after his bail application was rejected by Additional District and Sessions Judge/ Special Judge, Allahabad.

It was noted by the Court that the patient had died due to carelessness of doctors and staff as well as management of Global Hospital and allegations were that adulterated platelets had been provided and injected to the patient.

The counsel for the applicant submitted that he was neither owner nor shareholder nor staff of hospital concerned. He was only the owner of building that housed the concerned hospital. Referring to a photocopy of a notarized agreement of rent, the counsel for the applicant further submitted that he was not involved in day-to-day working of the hospital.

Further, it was submitted that the only allegation levelled against the applicant was that the complainant had made a payment of Rs 25,000 in the name of the applicant’s son though there is no conclusive proof of the same on record. Name of the applicant had been mentioned only because he had offered help to the Complainant side for arranging platelets and to put pressure on the applicant. Submitting that the applicant had offered help only as a human being, the counsel further submitted that the applicant had neither received any money nor provided any platelets.

On the other hand, the counsel for the State submitted that the applicant was a part of racket which was prevailing at the time when the incident took place wherein adulterated platelets had been sold. Money had been transferred through “Phone Pay” and there were allegations of conspiracy as well.

Meanwhile, the counsel for the Complainant/Informant submitted that the applicant and his son were involved actively in procuring adulterated platelets, which was injected to deceased and this was the reason that patient died when he was rushed to another hospital.

Taking note of the matter, the Court observed at this outset,

“While passing an order on an application for grant of bail, there is no need to record elaborate details to give an impression that the case is one that would result in a conviction or, by contrast, in an acquittal. However, a Court cannot completely divorce its decision from material aspects of the case such as allegations made against accused; nature and gravity of accusation; having common object or intention; severity of punishment if allegations are proved beyond reasonable doubt and would result in a conviction; reasonable apprehension of witnesses being influenced by accused; tampering of evidence; character, behaviour, means, position and standing of accused; likelihood of offence being repeated; the frivolity in the case of prosecution; criminal antecedents of accused and a prima facie satisfaction of Court in support of charge against accused.”

Further the Court clarified that it may also take note of participation or part of an unlawful assembly as well as that circumstantial evidence not being a ground to grant bail, if the evidence/ material collected establishes prima facie a complete chain of events. Parity may not be an only ground but remains a relevant factor for consideration of application for bail.

“Over crowding of jail and gross delay in disposal of cases when undertrials are forced to remain in jail (not due to their fault) may give rise to possible situations that may justify invocation of Article 21 of Constitution, may also be considered along with other factors,” the bench noted.

However, while considering the merits of the present case, the bench referred to the practice where management of hospitals and doctors are treating patients as a tool of earning money.

The bench noted that it was a time when Dengue was spreading and it was difficult to get platelets of same blood group and black marketing of platelets was prevailing.

Opining that the applicant is one of such persons, who was indulged in such unethical work, the HC bench observed,

“He has misused the trust of a patient and indulged in such activity with help of his son that not only took money but to provide such platelets which was not procured from proper licensed place. Knowing it well that it being adulterated platelets and may cause death of a patient, still he indulged in the activity of making money by procuring adulterated platelets and providing it to patient, which ultimately led to death of deceased.”

With this, the bench denied granting bail to the applicant and noted,

“Applicant has not only committed an offence which is against one person but in the given circumstances it is against public at large. There are allegation of conspiracy, forgery and fraud and evidence for same are prima facie available on record. Therefore, in my considered opinion, it is not a fit case for grant of bail.”

To read the order, click on the link below:

Also Read: Dengue Patient’s Death: Allahabad HC stays demolition of Prayagraj hospital

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