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'Low-cost' limbs for blast victims? CIC writes to Azad

November 11, 2011 16:55 IST
Are victims of bomb blasts and terrorist activists given only "low cost" artificial limbs during rehabilitation? The issue has been highlighted by Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi in a letter written to Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad asking for "good treatment" for victims of bomb blasts and terror acts.

Citing the case of a Right To Information activist Harish Kumar whose lower left leg was amputated after being injured in the Delhi high court bomb blast of September 7, Gandhi said officials of Ram Mahohar Lohia Hospital have informed him that Kumar would be getting only "low-cost artificial limb".

"I feel we will all recognise that the nation owes good treatment to victims of bomb blasts and such other terrorist attacks," Gandhi wrote asking for the intervention in ensuring "best artificial limbs" available in government facilities for them.

Gandhi also said during a visit to the hospital, he realised that Kumar is being treated like "any person" who approaches hospital. "Two months in a general ward in the hospital is taking some toll on him and his request to be transferred to the nursing hospital is not being considered.

"The medical superintendent informed me that whereas the nursing home is available free of cost to CGHS patients, Mr Harish Kumar will have to pay for the room and all treatment, if he was to be shifted to the nursing home," Gandhi wrote on November 9.

Harish Kumar, a resident of Azadpur, got severely injured in the Delhi high court blast. During surgery his lower left leg was amputated and he is still under treatment at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital's trauma centre.

Gandhi said the issue was not of Harish Kumar alone, it concerned all the victims for whom big promises are made after the terror incident. "If there is a facility available in the hospital why it can't be extended to terror victims who are not government servants. The issue is whether these victims should be given any special treatment or not. What I came to understand is they are extended only those facilities which are available to any other patient going to a government hospital," Gandhi said.

He said the purpose of writing to Azad was to ensure that he intervenes to improve facilities offered to such victims.

Kumar is a known RTI activist who had filed several RTI applications seeking information about alleged corruption cases in civic bodies of the national capital. "I had written a letter to hospital authorities, even member of Parliament Ganga Charan Rajput has written asking them to transfer me to the nursing home of the hospital. I was ready to pay the room expenses but my financial condition is such that I cannot incur rest of treatment expenses," he said.

Kumar said the authorities informed him that at present his hospital expense is incurred by the government, but in case he is shifted to the nursing home of the hospital, he will have to bear entire expenses. He was also told that free treatment in the nursing home is given to only central government employees under Central Government Health Scheme.

 

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